Clarifying the debate on degrowth
"Degrowth" and "primitivism" are not the same thing!
Some book reviews by Geoff Mann in the LRB have sparked a new round of arguments about degrowth, and at this point it seems like at least half of them turn on the same basic confusion. The most dramatic and attention-getting degrowth positions are the ones that call for a significant drop in living standards, at least in “the West”, often featuring a significant rollback in our use of technology. If you object to this, we are told, you’re defending stuff like infinite resource consumption or a simplistic bourgeois fixation on GDP as a measure of human welfare. But there are some enormous leaps in reasoning here, and none of them really have anything to do with degrowth.