It is imperative that a very different conception of development should be adopted as quickly as possible. It is not difficult to imagine a sane, sustainable, just and fulfilling alternative.
An enormous debt bomb threatens the US federal government and the nation’s financial system unless warring politicians can agree on a plan to defuse it. However, there are even bigger debt bombs ticking away beneath us all, of which fewer people are aware.
It is only by opening up institutions and decision-making processes to the whole of the population, that we can create a more just society.
Changing the priorities, policies, and rules to preserve the commonwealth of all beings of the earth rather than the private wealth of the few is possible, but it is not guaranteed.
The transition to a smaller, slower and less energy intensive economy will be made vastly more smooth and pleasant if we enact this transformation deliberately, intelligently and voluntarily.
We transform the very meaning of public and private by daring to proclaim the communal sphere as existing, real, and growing, evolving, and necessary.
The Future Is Degrowth invites us to envision a much deeper societal transition than simply swapping energy sources to maintain the status quo.
Knowledge may not be power, but should the future ‘become what it must’, the process of building power will have been one of building knowledge.
Keen discusses how mainstream economics misses the centrality of energy to our economy and to our futures, the naive treatment to the risks of money and debt creation, and the disconnect economic theory has to climate change risks.
My vision is to shift that balance and gain back power by saying: “I am who I am, this is what I know how to do. This is my knowledge from my tradition, and I’m going to own it and free myself from this global market.”
So I suspect that soon the lure of fulfillment will eclipse profitability — particularly because we all can meet our own needs, while only a few of us have ever profited from this disaster.
The best the degrowth literature has to offer served on a silver platter. That’s how I would describe The Future is Degrowth: A Guide to a World beyond Capitalism (June 2022) by Matthias Schmelzer, Andrea Vetter, and Aaron Vansintjan.