Saturday, May 18

The growing appeal of degrowth

The vision

It’s a five-minute bike trip to the train station. On vigorous early mornings like this, I use gloves and load a warm coffee for the commute. My work pal Lucy gets on 2 stops down, constantly with a set of scones, wheeling her bike beside mine in the locker downstairs before joining me in the warm coach area. Half an hour later on, we dump the bikes and race each other along the greenway to our workplace. Two times a week, this; two times a week, we co-work from a coffee shop in the residential areas. The remainder of the week is ours to delight in.

— a drabble from Looking Forward reader Betsy Ruckman

The spotlight

If you like the concept of a continuous three-day weekend, you may be among a growing cadre that supports the principle of degrowth: a school of believed targeted at diminishing economies and moving far from GDP development as a metric of success, while rather stressing universal standard services and social wellness. The concept is getting fans, specifically in Europe and particularly amongst youths. It’s not simply a fringe theory. A Beyond Growth conference hosted by the European Parliament last May saw 7,000 participants, consisting of the president of the European Commission.

Akielly Hu, Grist’s news and politics fellow, went over the growing appeal of degrowth with Kohei Saito– a Marxist author whose 2020 degrowth manifesto rapidly developed into a bestseller in Japan and beyond. (The English translation, called Decreasewas simply launched last month.)

“I believe among the reasons that individuals like the concept a lot is because, in a capitalist economy, individuals work a lot,” Hu stated. “And among the main concepts of degrowth is much shorter working hours.” We covered this in a previous newsletter about the four-day workweek– among the very first degrowth-esque policies that we’re starting to see executed in some locations. (The concept of a future where work is played down likewise influenced Betsy Ruckman to send the drabble above, which reveals 2 associates taking pleasure in a four-day week and standard services like available public transportation.)

Hu was likewise motivated by Looking Forward’s drabbles in composing the lede of her piece, which paints a picture of a degrowth future:

Envision a world where you work 3 or 4 days a week. In your downtime, you play sports, hang around with enjoyed ones, garden, and engage with regional politics. Over night shipping, marketing, and personal jets no longer exist, however healthcare, education, and tidy electrical energy are complimentary and readily available to all.

It’s a vision that’s quite tough to argue with– particularly, as Hu explained, the concept of working less and having more time for activities that have to do with pleasure, not cash. There’s another element of degrowth that provides itself to a vision of a tidy, green, simply future: It’s naturally about producing and taking in less,

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