post-growth

Freeing oneself from the superfluous

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Freeing ourselves from the superfluous - Towards a post-growth economy from Niko Paech - Edition Rue de l'Echiquier, October 2016 - 128 Pages - Preface by Geneviève Azam
 
"There are no ecological objects or techniques per se, only lifestyles. »
 
Here is the manifesto of one of the leading figures of the critical growth movement in Germany, an uncompromising plea for a relocated and sustainable economy.
Niko Paech demonstrates that if Western citizens enjoy a level of wealth in goods and mobility that has no precedent in human history, it is at the price of a plundering of natural resources. He begins by detailing the contemporary process of removing geographical, temporal and physical boundaries. It then looks back at the history of economic thought and shows to what extent it has gradually detached itself from ecological reality. To this end, it tackles the "myth of decoupling" or "green growth" and explores the various forms of "rebound effects": material, financial and psychological.
 
Convinced that a way out is possible to save the planet, the author gives, at the end of the book, the contours of a sustainable and modern "post-growth" society. At the end of this journey, one thing is obvious: what if getting rid of the superfluous, while lightening our consciences, could also make us happier?
 
An international success: the book was published in Germany in 2012 by Oekom, which also produced an English translation. With a print run of 35,000 copies, " Befreiung vom Überfluss " has acquired the status of a "classic" in the German-speaking world of growth criticism.
 
Niko Paech's book illustrates the vitality and diversity of the deconstructions of the religion of growth. Post-growth or degrowth are concepts with several dimensions, giving rise to a diversity of interpretations and proposals, of paths, while the present world, always oriented towards infinite growth and plundering, has become unsustainable. Economic growth, as a regular, continuous, self-sustaining process, belongs to the past, despite the illusions of green and dematerialized growth and those of a technological leap". Geneviève Azam, economist
 
"For the moment, it is clear that this post-growth economy is acceptable only to a minority... But the transformation of mentalities and cultures, which is supposed to condition the transition to sobriety - a transformation that has been talked about for 40 years - is in fact a phantom debate, because it presupposes that we have a choice. The extreme vulnerability of our globalized, growth-dependent existences makes it so likely that the only question is whether all this will happen, or not. "by design or by disaster (by choice or as a result of a disaster). »
 
Born in 1960, Niko Paech is a German economist, professor at the University of Oldenburg, co-founder of the Association for Economic Ecology (Vöö based in Berlin). He represents in his country the current of "strong" sustainability, critical of growth and all forms of green marketing. He is presented by many media as the figure of the German "post-growth" movement.
 

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