A critique of degrowth
I came for a critique of degrowth and found a very logically argued position on degrowth and why degrowther somehow believe squaring the circle is possible.
I came for some critique of degrowth, only to find a few badly articulated rants and in the end, some magical thinking in action: apprently, the author seems convinced that by saying degrowth is magical thinking, this should somehow become magically true...
I read your books, and Jason Hickel's, and I wish you were working together instead of throwing such an article at him.
We all are in a terrible bind, economically and ecologically. I'll admit that I have a lot of sympathy for asceticism and degrowth positions. To me, as for many in that field, the future economic development of the world is as much a moral problem born out of the exploitation of the global south, as it is one about economics or technology. What's your "solution" compass, if the moral compass of degrowth only earns your spite? In what direction would you lead?
My inner compass tells me that the direction of degrowth is overall correct, even though we do not have all the solutions. What's wrong with starting with the measures Hickel proposes as starting points? Cuts to advertising, scaling down ecologically destructive industries, right to repair, shift to usership?
On your regression critique - what's wrong with learning from great examples? Of course it's possible in healthcare say to compare systems and find that solidarity-based ones are not always, but often, more successful to ensure basic care for all (but then leave less service for the best care for the ultra-rich). Of course it's true that good public transport would reduce the need for private car ownership and associated env damage and space requirements. Of course it is true that consumption levels in the west of wealthy people could be significantly reduced without any truly measurable reduction in the standard of living. And that standard of living is based on monstrous appropriation.
Last but not least: yes, working less and having access to a garden improves life satisfaction and reduces stress levels. And no, in the west pretty much nobody will starve if we had a four day work week and distributed wages and most importantly capital more fairly.
It could turn out though that we actually have to work more for our own lifes, because bangladeshi women might just stop making our shirts for shitty 3 € a day. And if we keep the current "brilliant" capitalist-consumer model that you deem unreformable, well, then humanity is nothing short of fucked, and I'll take all my chances with a just and equitable transformation.
The authors came up with six categories to explain most of the difference in happiness between countries: gross domestic product per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perception of corruption levels. Dr. Wang said some results were surprising: Parts of Eastern Europe ranked relatively low on the list, despite having relatively good income levels, while in South America, the reverse was true: Happiness levels tended to be high, given relatively low income levels.
In Finland, a relatively egalitarian society, people tend not to be fixated on “keeping up with the Joneses.”
“People often do pretty well in social comparison,” said Antti Kauppinen, a philosophy professor at the University of Helsinki. “This starts from education; everybody has access to good education. Income and wealth differences are relatively small.”
Compare Branko's model: "Dining Alone in a Hyper-Competitive World"
"But with higher incomes and higher labor participation rates, we can afford expensive utility bills, we can provide for our old age and a comfortable old-age home (so broadly advertised today). Our children (if we have any) will be too far away, cast around by the availability of jobs and hyper-competitiveness to take care of us.
Being alone is both our preference and a response to a world of competitiveness, commodification and higher incomes. The new world that we can glean will not be dystopian. It will be a Utopia, with a twist."
"they and the rest of us live in two different ideological worlds" The rest of us?
Your fantasy is Las Vegas with health care.
Seems like the problem is capitalism 👍🏽
Please do not mention "war" again, until we've seen what's left after this pandemic.