2 October 2019

Samuel Miller McDonald argues that the left should commit to shrinking the economy so that eco-fascists don’t control how it occurs: “A left-wing degrowth agenda could be a very good thing: in addition to halting our doomsday course, it plausibly could result in increased prosperity for most people as it would, by definition, entail mass redistribution of resources, even as economic growth slowed and reversed. One can envision much better lives of greater abundance, in both rural and urban contexts, under a postgrowth, egalitarian economy. … But a right-wing degrowth agenda would almost certainly result in less prosperity for most, and even great violence. It’s just as easy to imagine deeply savage governments pursuing aggressive degrowth agendas that do aim to make the economy more materially sustainable, but doing so through brutal austerity measures”. (I’m not convinced that de-growth should be the primary objective; it is politically a difficult message to sell and I think starting with redistribution will lead to a shift in economic priorities away from growth-at-all-costs anyway. But it’s a useful reminder that if we don’t make significant changes very soon, the future will be vicious.)