Sunday, December 12, 2010

By Request: About No-Growth

A Daily Kos reader asked me to say more about a reference in my last post to no-growth:

The idea of no-growth is big in France, and probably other European countries, where people are familiar with Marxist theories.  I see it as a kind of up-dating of Marx.

Two books that are available here are Farewell to Growth by Serge Latouche, at Polity Press and Ecologica, by Andre Gorz, at Seagull.

People like David Korten, the publisher of Yes! magazine and author of several mass market books on the economy, have not yet reached the point where they realize we need a no-growth policy, but they offer intel-ligent solutions for reforming the present system.

I believe the case for no-growth on a global level is the only sane solution to the ecological and energy crisis.  Andre Gorz, while a bit less immediately accessible, provides a very compelling argument based on the idea that the important thing is not who owns capital but what is done with it.  He also explains why ‘capitalism’ as an economic system requires growth, to the detriment of humans and the planet.

Arguments that have been taking place for some time between the United States mainly, and the developing world, center on leveling the playing field: we would ‘have’ less, so the rest of the world could reach a reasonable level of development.  We are, in fact, overdeveloped; we produce far too many things that no one spontaneously needs, but are foisted on us by advertising.  With a limit to how much the country’s population can consume, war becomes a necessity, to guarantee the return on capital.  See also, Andrew Bacevich’s Washington Rules about that.

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