What does “degrowth” mean to us?

By “degrowth“, we understand a form of society and economy which aims at the well-being of all and sustains the natural basis of life.

COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses of a neo-liberal system based upon growth at the expense of valuing communities, the environment, key workers, and participative democracy. The WHO estimates that, globally, 4.2 million people die each year from outdoor air pollution, and that the impacts of climate change are expected to cause 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050. Experts warn that the continued degradation of ecosystems makes even stronger virus outbreaks realistic.

So what’s all this about a 5 point plan?

170 academics of eight different Dutch universities believe the time is right for a positive and meaningful vision. They signed a manifesto with a list of five policy proposals for a post-COVID 19 development model to cope with this pandemic and other social and environmental crises in the future.The tragedy offers society a unique change to rediscover what is valued and valuable whilst creating a more equal, safer and more sustainable society for the future. The five proposals are a way of achieving this.

  • A move away from development focused on aggregate GDP growth to differentiate among sectors that can grow and need investment (the so-called critical public sectors, and clean energy, education, health and more) and sectors that need to radically degrow due to their fundamental unsustainability or their role in driving continuous and excessive consumption (especially private sector oil, gas, mining, advertising, and so forth);
  • An economic framework focused on redistribution, which establishes a universal basic income rooted in a universal social policy system, a strong progressive taxation of income, profits and wealth, reduced working hours and job sharing, and recognizes care work and essential public services such as health and education for their intrinsic value;
  • Agricultural transformation towards regenerative agriculture based on biodiversity conservation, sustainable and mostly local and vegetarian food production, as well as fair agricultural employment conditions and wages;
  • Reduction of consumption and travel, with a drastic shift from luxury and wasteful consumption and travel to basic, necessary, sustainable and satisfying consumption and travel;
  • Debt cancellation, especially for workers and small business owners and for countries in the global south (both from richer countries and international financial institutions).

Would be great to get other opinion’s on this…Do you think this is achievable? Would you like the 5 point plan applied to Wales? How much impact do you think the plan would have?