It’s time to flip the game upside down and end that very green colonialism by requiring a southernization of the north — forcing the latter to reduce its consumption of energy and other resources to meet that of the Global South.
Ending the unequal exchange that traps the Global South in poverty and extractivism and paving the way for a degrowth transition will require an alliance of countries prepared to default on their foreign debts, and strong movements in the Global North ready to defend them when they do.
A new manifesto critiques the “clean energy” transitions of the Global North and offers an alternative vision from the Global South.
As reparationist Esther Stanford-Xosei argues, reparations are not simply a matter of financial compensation, but must include bigger, more radical changes that help us build “new economic systems that don’t produce and reproduce inequality”.
The ‘post growth’ agenda envisions a future where economies do not grow infinitely. Degrowth is one of many routes to get there — by reducing the use of finite natural resources and addressing the social inequity that is inherent to the quest for endless economic growth.
The only people that are against these ideas are the capitalist class. The obstacle is not ordinary people. The obstacle is capital. That’s the terrain we need to be fighting on.
If the first pillar of climate change negotiations is mitigation – how can we work together to stop carbon emissions? And the second is adaptation – how can we change to cope with the changing climate? Then loss and damage is the third – an idea originally muted in the 1990s by small island states, but gaining increasing traction.
In this spirit, this article aims to provide an overview of some of the key discussions and points of critique directed towards degrowth over the years, especially by people’s movements, and how they have impacted upon scholarship, activism and discourse.
We must engage with the just struggle to write off the uncollectible foreign debt which, aggravated by the social and economic effects of the pandemic, is threatening the survival of the peoples of the South.
When it comes to the key decisions that will shape human lives in the post-pandemic world, this new generation of activists will continue to pressure decision-makers into giving them a future worth fighting for.
It would be arrogant and irresponsible for the global North not to look to cultures in the global South that have sustained themselves for vastly longer than it has taken industrial capitalism to annihilate much of the living world.