(IPS) – Serge Latouche, professor emeritus of economic science at the University of Paris-Sud, is one of the main proponents of “the society of de-growth”.
He calls for “abandoning the objective of growth for growth’s sake, an insane objective, with disastrous consequences for the environment.” The need for a ‘de-growth’ society stems from the certainty, he says, that the earth’s resources and natural cycles cannot sustain the economic growth which is the essence of capitalism and modernity.
In place of the current dominant system, Latouche argues for “a society of assumed sobriety; to work less in order to live better lives, to consume less products but of better quality, to produce less waste and recycle more.”
The new society would mean “recuperating a sense of measure and a sustainable ecological footprint,” Latouche says, “and finding happiness in living together with others rather than in the frantic accumulation of gadgets.”
Author of many books and articles on Western rationality, the myth of progress, colonialism and post-development, Serge Latouche describes the main principles of the de-growth society in his books ‘Le Pari de la Décroissance'(The Bet of De-Growth) and ‘Petit Traité de la Décroissance Sereine” (Small Treaty of Peaceful De-Growth) published in 2006 and 2007.
Serge Latouche spoke to IPS correspondent Claudia Ciobanu about de-growth society.
IPS: What are the features of the society of de-growth, and are any practices in the world today compatible with this vision?
Serge Latouche: De-growth does not mean negative growth. Negative growth is a self-contradictory expression, which just proves the domination of the collective imagination by the idea of growth.