Farewell to Growth

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Polity, 2009 - Social Science - 124 pages
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Most of us who live in the North and the West consume far too much– too much meat, too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt.We are more likely to put on too much weight than to go hungry. Welive in a society that is heading for a crash. We are aware of whatis happening and yet we refuse to take it fully into account. Aboveall we refuse to address the issue that lies at the heart of ourproblems – namely, the fact that our societies are based onan economy whose only goal is growth for growth’s sake.

Serge Latouche argues that we need to rethink from the veryfoundations the idea that our societies should be based on growth.He offers a radical alternative – a society of‘de-growth’. De-growth is not the same thing asnegative growth. We should be talking about ‘a-growth’,in the sense in which we speak of ‘a-theism’. And we doindeed have to abandon a faith or religion – that of theeconomy, progress and development—and reject the irrationaland quasi-idolatrous cult of growth for growth’s sake.

While many realize that that the never-ending pursuit of growthis incompatible with a finite planet, we have yet to come to termswith the implications of this – the need to produce less andconsume less. But if we do not change course, we are heading for anecological and human disaster. There is still time to imagine,quite calmly, a system based upon a different logic, and to planfor a ‘de-growth society’.


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About the author (2009)

Serge Latouche is Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris-Sud.

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