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Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World

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Hickel understands how capitalism came to be, and so he must understand the role of the state and the role of any international organisation controlled by the colonial states. Solutions” often reside within a micro-understanding of ecological processes, so it was refreshing to read an approach incorporating all these seemingly disparate systems and processes that are very much intricately linked. His discussions of the philosophical and ideological background of the growth economy misses the mark on several key points.

Easy to read, this makes a compelling argument for the damage that any positive rate of GDP growth will ultimately cause to our environment. It’s a rare political economist who can tease hope from the abundance of data around planetary collapse. If corporations fail to grow (~3% annual growth rate), investors will back out and corporations will inevitably fall. However, the first part is excellent at illustrating exactly how destructive capitalism and its mandate of constant, exponential growth has been for our world, and I do hope that everyone can read it and understand fully how we ended up where we are. The core message is heavily driven by the idea of balance and equality, which is something not everyone agrees with.One common ground is that high debt overhead forces more work to simply pay off the debts, thus more resource use. But logging companies equipped with chainsaws don't let their workers finish the job early and take the rest of the day off.

Hickel cherry picks data, conflates economics and philosophy with reckless abandon (dualism and capitalism are apparently the same) and occasionally uses trite terminology (we need to decolonize our minds🥴) to drive home the narrative. It’s unfortunate that he has botched a number of the significant details that should emerge from a book on degrowth. This book explains the complex state of our world in an accessible way, and not only sheds lights on the systemic causes of the problems we face but also shares inspiring solutions we might adopt to change the course of our history. Jason Hickel shows that recovering the commons and decolonizing nature, cultures, and humanity are necessary conditions for hope of a common future in our common home. I'd like to synthesize this with Michael Hudson's focus on Finance Capitalism's debt overhead (the aforementioned M-M’) and fictitious speculative growth (as opposed to industrial growth and its material use): The Bubble and Beyond.More growth means that more people have more money to spend, which means that people lead better lives, right?

This book explores not only the systemic flaws but the deeply cultural beliefs that need to be uprooted and replaced.

A manifesto for the future of the planet packed with scholarship, yet as easy to read as a beach novel, a perfect antidote to doomscrolling. Vooral de economieën van rijke westerse landen moeten juist snel krimpen, of beter “ontgroeien” om een catastrofe af te wenden. For years, I (and many others, I suspect) have been feeling this small tug in my head - a slight force that would pull me out of reality for a second.

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