Planned Degrowth: Ecosocialism and Sustainable Human Development

All important concepts are dialectically vague at the margins.—Herman E. Daly


John Bellmay Foster

The word degrowth stands for a family of political-economic approaches that, in the face of today’s accelerating planetary ecological crisis, reject unlimited, exponential economic growth as the definition of human progress. To abandon economic growth in wealthy societies means to shift to zero net capital formation. With continual technological development and the enhancement of human capabilities, mere replacement investment is able to promote steady qualitative advancements in production in mature industrial societies, while eliminating exploitative labor conditions and reducing working hours. Coupled with global redistribution of the social surplus product and reduction of waste, this would allow for vast improvements in thelives of most people. Degrowth, which specifically targets the mostopulent sectors of the world population, is thus directed at theenhancement of the living conditions of the vast majority while maintaining the environmental conditions of existence and promoting sustainable human development.

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