Our Philosophy

Image courtesy of www.vallankumous.org

Image courtesy of www.vallankumous.org

The goal of any policy should be to ensure that the needs of  current generations are met without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs.  To meet current and future generations’ needs, overdeveloped nations and their economies need to respect the Earth’s ecological limits, meaning a controlled and secure contraction of the economy.  

Degrowth is the intentional redirection of economies away from the perpetual pursuit of growth. For economies beyond the limits of their ecological systems–which includes not just the United States but all “developed” countries–this will mean a planned and controlled contraction to get back in line with planetary boundaries, with the eventual creation of a steady-state economic system that is in balance with Earth’s limits, once the degrowth process finishes and a stable population level is achieved.

Confronted with an environmentally, socially and culturally destructive crisis of over accumulation, economic growth appears more and more as the problem and not the solution.
A degrowth society will take as many different forms as economies that require degrowing, depending on the resources, histories and the culture of each local region.

The Club for Degrowth is a new resource for degrowth advocates from around the world, who believe that social and environmental sustainability will come through economic degrowth.  The club works to promote public policies, structures, institutions, and cultural changes that will securely and sufficiently help us transition to an economic system in which being sustainable and responsible to future generations is the norm.  As part of the degrowth movement, we believe that through a voluntary reduction of the economy, we can work less, consume less and live better, fuller, and most importantly sustainable lives.

For more information on a path to degrowth in overdeveloped countries like the U.S., please read The Path to Degrowth in Overdeveloped Countries from the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2012.

The primary effort of the Club for Degrowth is to disseminate awareness about degrowth, and what forms the process might take and is starting to take. It also works to counteract greenwashing, the appropriation of the term “sustainability” in inappropriate ways, and consumerism.  We look to supporters, allies and activists who believe in post-growth policies, limited consumption, fair taxes and economic, social and environmental sustainability to help global societies achieve a controlled process of degrowth. For the alternative is much worse.

Policies: The Club for Degrowth advocates for the following policy goals (as detailed here unless otherwise noted):

  • Shift cultural norms to discourage unsustainable levels of consumption
  • Raise income tax rates on the wealthiest global citizens and on goods that harm either the planet or people (such as tobacco, carbon, cars, junk food).
  • Use increased tax revenue to support public consumption–including mass transit and bicycle lanes, libraries (of book, tools, toys), safe public water–that offsets private consumption (cars, personal purchases, bottled water).
  • Also use tax revenue to create ‘rainy day’ funds to deal with disasters already committed to due to climate change already built into the future. Invest now in adaptation to mitigate future effects of disasters.
  • Encourage creation of eco-social service providers that can help facilitate the transition to a sustainable economy and help provide people with a new ecological philosophical orientation to replace consumerism.
  • Better distribute job opportunities and work toward shifting working hour norms from 40+ hours/week to 20-25 hours/week, providing enough income for more people to afford life’s necessities but less income for luxury consumption.
  • Cultivate what Juliet Schor calls the “plenitude economy,” supporting those interested in informal economic strategies like small-scale farming, artisan work, and so on (see below).