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Issue 317

Illustration by Sarah Bloom / Creative Action Network

Degrowth offers … a politics of ‘less is more’

pastoralists and Indigenous peoples is entwined with issues of social justice: local rights to resources, to survival and to livelihood.

The third is anti-capitalism, understood – with critical input from feminist theory – as a system that loots and plunders across all social-natural fronts. Capital is imperilling the Earth, but workers and people living in poverty – above all, women and racialised groups – are least responsible, are first in the firing line, and possess tremendous latent power. The anticapitalism that correlates to this diagnosis places weight on care for others and care for the planet.

These principles bear a striking resemblance to those that guide some socialist Green New Dealers. I have in mind historian Tithi Bhattacharya’s essay ‘Three Ways a Green New Deal Can Promote Life Over Capital’, and political scientist Alyssa Battistoni’s vision of a future climate-stable socialism with an emphasis on greenand pink-collar labour: “work that makes people’s lives better without consuming vast amounts of resources, generating significant carbon emissions, or producing huge amounts of stuff ”.

In this survey of the terrain, I find no ‘Green Deal versus degrowth’ rivalry. Between the camp heartlands obviously there is. Growth boosterism and degrowth are incompatible, and the distinction becomes supercharged when morality and aesthetics enter – on one hand, a fetishism of technology and a dogma that ‘growth is good’; on the other, a zeal for frugality. But at the left corners, the tents are so close as to practically touch.

Gareth Dale teaches politics at Brunel University. He is a co-editor of Green Growth: Ideology, Political Economy and the Alternatives (Zed, 2016).

Resurgence & Ecologist


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