DeGrowth: A Vocabularyfor a New Era is a collection of essays exploring degrowth and related concepts.
Degrowth is a philosophy that says in order for human societies to survive the climate catastrophe, we have to shrink our economies, and to re-think what it means to live a good life. The dominant ideology of our time is rooted in constant, devouring growth, using up finite material resources such as oil and rare earths. The degrowth movement says that we have to let go of growth as our marker of progress and success. Sustainable development is rejected as a delusion; we can’t halt or reverse the damage we’ve done to the earth and still have a consumerist society.
A challenge with the degrowth point of view is how societies are organized and focused if we are not driven by growth. Many of the concepts defined in this book are ideas of how to do that both in terms of institutions and individuals. Some sectors of the economy, such as care, healthcare and education would be expected to expand, and societies would be more focused around community. Ways in which to reduce inequality and to ensure that the onus of degrowth is put in the right place (on the over-consuming elites of the Global North) are also described.
This is a useful book which lays out a series of concepts that could help us live more at peace with the earth and each other. It’s also a good pointer to the thinkers in this space so that you can read more.