“The debates of the Greens are far from reflecting the depth of the field of degrowth”

Tribune. During the debates at the EELV primary, one word often came up: “degrowth”. The five candidates have all taken a position on the issue. If the deputy Delphine Batho has made it her hobbyhorse, her competitors have appeared on the reserve. Eric Piolle says to himself “Neither believer in growth nor believer in decrease”. Yannick Jadot “Don’t give a damn” of the question, just like Sandrine Rousseau, who considers that “Degrowth, that doesn’t make much economic sense, in real life”, observation shared by Jean-Marc Governatori. The subject is however becoming unavoidable among environmentalists, at the risk, unfortunately, of getting bogged down in four false debates.

Decryption: Degrowth: where does this political concept come from, which is the primary environmental debate?

Is growth positive or negative? Degrowth is more than a simple reduction in GDP. On this point, the real divide is today between the “economization” of the world and its “de-economization”, that is to say the observation, shared during the debates of the Greens, that certain activities would be better organized. outside the logic of monetary accumulation. The objective would then be to build an economy of well-being that is not obsessed with money, an economy where production would be socially useful and ecologically sustainable: less GDP, of course, but more equality, friendliness and sustainability.

For or against GDP? There is a consensus among environmentalists that GDP is a poor measurement of what really matters. What needs to be changed is therefore not the measurement, but the system that one seeks to measure. The economy is like a car being launched at full speed against an ecological wall. The urgency is to slow it down before the accident. The real contribution of degrowth is to focus on socially acceptable strategies to slow down this out of control economy. Reduction of working time, guarantee of employment, redistribution of wealth, relocation of production, rationing of the carbon budget… It is an alternative economy – and a path of transition – to be fully designed.

Quality or quantity? Debates around degrowth often get bogged down in lists of “plus” or “minus”: more solar panels and cycle paths, less pesticides and pollution, and so on. Everyone does their shopping, but we forget that environmental crises are above all a matter of scale. After a certain critical size, any economic activity – however desirable it may be – becomes ecologically problematic.

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