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What is the Decrease and why would it be a solution for our society?

What is the Decrease and why would it be a solution for our society?

June 6, 2023

We live in an economic context in which material benefit, productivity and the incessant struggle for more and more growth and development prevail.

But ... what if instead of growing constantly, we stop growing? Decreasing is a movement for economic development of a social nature. We are faced with an anti-crisis theory, whose objective is to optimally and responsibly decrease production, in order to achieve a balance between production / consumption and the use of natural resources that are needed for it.

Then we will expose the advantages and social benefits that the Decrease can bring , whose diffusion has not had all the support expected to date, where the future challenges will be to supply resources to an overpopulated world.

What is the Decrease?

This current emerged at the end of the twentieth century from the hand of the American mathematician and economist Georgescu-Roegen. His successful studies on sustainable economy and development earned him to be recognized as the founder and father of the decrecentismo.

The pillars of the decline are based on abandoning the absurd idea of ​​annual economic growth that we hear so much talk about in the news, and what our governments so much advocate. Therefore, an effort is being made to talk more about voluntary degrowth. This is, work fewer hours and enjoy more free time .

Several have been the economists who have aligned themselves with this thought, but the most influential to make this theory known in modern society has been the French Serge Latouche.

For this author, the decrease itself does not imply any scientific thesis or a significant revolution. In his own words, it is a simple and forceful concept to attract the attention of the global public. We are currently facing a serious problem of scarcity of primary resources; scientists and naturalist experts warn of the long-term risk if urgent measures are not taken regarding domestic consumption.

For social growth

Latouche denounces the high commitment to the market economy to the detriment of quality in society . Today growth is only considered profitable if its effects positively influence natural resources, future generations, and the working conditions of workers.

For Serge Latouche, the cultural revolution is the only alternative. As explained in his book "The commitment to the decline", he proposes a series of solutions under the prefix "re-", denoting repetition or regression, which has been baptized as the model of the "8 R" :

1. Revalue

Need to redefine current values, which are globalist, consumerist and extremely consumerist by more local values, economic cooperation and humanist.

2. Restructure

To mold the means of production and social relations to the new scale of redefined values, such as the combination of eco-efficiency and voluntary values.

3. Redistribute

This concept has two purposes. On the one hand, it aims to directly reduce the power and means of the world consumer class and, especially, of the oligarchy of the great predators. Otherwise, it aims to reeducate the population by decreasing the invitation to unnecessary and ostentatious consumption.

4. Relocate

The Decrease aims to produce locally, through local businesses and with essential goods to meet the needs of the population. Without pretending to establish a border system, we must limit ourselves to producing what is indispensable for society, recovering the territorial anchoring.

5. Reconceptualize

Current development sacrifices society and its welfare in favor of "development entrepreneurs". In other words: from multinationals. It is about making a change of values ​​that leads to a different view of current reality, an artificial reality of consumption. In this way, we must reconceptualize wealth in relation to poverty or scarcity over abundance.

6. Recycle

Lengthen the life of each and every one of the products we use and avoid irresponsible consumption and waste.

7. Reuse

Make a long-term use of the material products that we buy such as clothes, appliances or cars.

8. Reduce

The first and last essence of the Decrease. Drastically reduce the impact on the biosphere of our way of producing and consuming. Not only must we reduce our consumption of tangible products, but intangibles in the same way, such as hours of work and health consumption, reducing the acquisition of medicines and the abuse of medical treatments.

Another indispensable element to reduce is mass tourism and the exaggeration of constant leisure . The human spirit is adventurous, but modern industry has exaggerated this need by commodifying our traveling impulses to the maximum.

The decrease as the only solution

The Decreción defends an economic model to improve the quality of life of the majority. Among some ideas, we highlight the most important that govern our lives and sense of happiness, which are work and free time.

A reduction of the working day will lead to an increase in leisure time and this we have to use in social life and creative leisure versus consumer leisure.

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