Degrowth can work — here’s how science can help
Wealthy countries can create prosperity while using less materials and energy if they abandon economic growth as an objective. Nature, 12 december 2022
Hickel Jason, Giorgos Kallis, Tim Jackson, Daniel W. O’Neill, Juliet B. Schor, Julia K. Steinberger, Peter A. Victor, Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, December 2022
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Governments face a difficult situation. Their attempts to stimulate growth clash with objectives to improve human well-being and reduce environmental damage.
Researchers in ecological economics call for a different approach — degrowth. Wealthy economies should abandon growth of gross domestic product (GDP) as a goal, scale down destructive and unnecessary forms of production to reduce energy and material use, and focus economic activity around securing human needs and well-being. This approach, which has gained traction in recent years, can enable rapid decarbonization and stop ecological breakdown while improving social outcomes. It frees up energy and materials for low- and middle-income countries in which growth might still be needed for development. Degrowth is a purposeful strategy to stabilize economies and achieve social and ecological goals, unlike recession, which is chaotic and socially destabilizing and occurs when growth-dependent economies fail to grow.