Let’s call it grassroots growth

I agree with the concept of degrowth, but isn’t there a better term for it?

This piece by Erin Remblance and, Jennifer Harvey Sallin in the Illuminem blog chimes with my frustration at the use of the word degrowth.

We get this question a lot from people who fear that the term “degrowth” sounds too negative in a world where economic growth is almost universally considered positive. They worry the perception that degrowth must be negative will stop many people from embracing the term, the concept, and, subsequently, degrowth-aligned behaviours and policies.

If you are an economist who believes that the economy is energy-based, degrowth is what is happening now – the shrinking economy.  If you are a green activist, it is a policy which must be followed to save the planet.

The odd thing is that the green activists cannot see what they advocate is already happening. Their concern should now switch to advocating that the degrowth should be heading in the “right” ecological direction.

Whatever your inclination you believe that the world is doomed.  Which is not how I see the future.      

The fact that the world economy is shrinking must mean that our use of fossil fuel energy is also shrinking.  Which, in due course, will mean that the world is no longer doomed.  It is becoming a much smaller, lower-energy entity.

It was the growth-based mindset and the top-down systems it spawned that created global warming.  Now there is insufficient surplus energy to maintain the growth.  So there is degrowth.   Which is seen by most people to be negative. Including those who govern us and want to.

So the top-down systems are shrinking.  Propped up to look like growth, for the time being, by quantitative easing

And the bottom-up grassroots doings of individuals and their extended families are growing.  A growth which many say they want.  Me too!

Let’s call it grassroots growth.

This leads me to suggest that time and money are being wasted using alternative energy resources to prop up the top-down systems, whose decline is inevitable.   Much better to use these resources to cushion the inevitable transition of grassroots doings to a lower-energy society.

First published in the Deep Transformation Network