We need to break free from the capitalist economy. Degrowth gives us the tools to bend its bars.
Economic growth isn't working, and it cannot be made to work. Offering a counter-history of how economic growth emerged in the context of colonialism, fossil-fueled industrialization, and capitalist modernity, The Future Is Degrowth argues that the ideology of growth conceals the rising inequalities and ecological destructions associated with capitalism, and points to desirable alternatives to it.
Not only in society at large, but also on the left, we are held captive by the hegemony of growth. Even proposals for emancipatory Green New Deals or postcapitalism base their utopian hopes on the development of productive forces, on redistributing the fruits of economic growth and technological progress. Yet growing evidence shows that continued economic growth cannot be made compatible with sustaining life and is not necessary for a good life for all.
This book provides a vision for postcapitalism beyond growth. Building on a vibrant field of research, it discusses the political economy and the politics of a non-growing economy. It charts a path forward through policies that democratise the economy, "now-topias" that create free spaces for experimentation, and counter-hegemonic movements that make it possible to break with the logic of growth. Degrowth perspectives offer a way to step off the treadmill of an alienating, expansionist, and hierarchical system.
A handbook and a manifesto, The Future Is Degrowth is a must-read for all interested in charting a way beyond the current crises.
Matthias Schmelzer is a Berlin-based economic historian, social theorist and climate activist. He works at the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena and is active in various social-ecological networks and movements. He has published The Hegemony of Growth and edited Degrowth in Movement(s).
Andrea Vetter is a transformation researcher, activist and journalist, using degrowth, commons and critical eco-feminism as tools. She teaches transformation design at the Braunschweig University of Art. She is editor of the magazine Oya and lives in and is co-founder of the House of Change, a transregional rural space for art, learning and co-creation in Eastern Germany.
Aaron Vansintjan lives in Montreal and writes about food, cities, politics, and ecology. He is the co-founder of Uneven Earth, a website focusing on ecological politics. He has been published in The Guardian, Briarpatch Magazine, Red Pepper, Truthout, Open Democracy, and The Ecologist.