Degrowth: Slow is the New Cool
The Great Simplification #32 with Timothée Parrique
My research over the past 20 years concludes that ‘degrowth’ - or an end to yearly increases material/energetic growth - is a mathematical certainty in coming decades. The questions are: when, to what degree, and the vast amount of personal and societal preparations that might occur. My thesis is that our cultural momentum and systems metabolism will mean that this inevitable ‘degrowth’ arrives in involuntary ways - ergo ‘when the road is full of cans’.
But what might it look like if humans, as a society and culture, actually choose to degrow our systems in a planned and democratic way? Would such a future be possible? How would it come about? Would it improve current inequalities? There is a large and growing ‘degrowth’ movement aligned around these questions.
This week, Timothée Parrique joins me to discuss the difference between a chosen and forced degrowth path, and what a voluntary path requires from us as humans.
Timothée Parrique is a social scientist, originally from Versailles, France. He is currently a researcher at the School of Economics and Management of Lund University (Sweden). He holds a PhD in economics from the Centre d’Études et de Recherches sur le Développement (University of Clermont Auvergne, France) and the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University, Sweden). Titled “The political economy of degrowth” (2019), his dissertation explores the economic implications of degrowth. Tim is the author of Ralentir ou périr. L’économie de la décroissance (September 2022, Seuil), a book adaptation in French of his PhD dissertation.
Timothée paints a picture of what life after degrowth could look like and what societies might use as markers for success. While this path will not likely be chosen by present human societies (imo), thinking about what we want the future to look like and how we can live and thrive in a less materially intensive world can get many more people thinking about important groundwork for when degrowth does happen - and making changes in their own lives and work.
I hope you enjoy and learn from this colorful conversation with Timothée Parrique.
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