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The Growth of Degrowth Economics

The Growth of Degrowth Economics

Degrowth theory, whose supporters push policies to reduce economic activity and end our obsession with GDP, is gaining momentum in Europe and Canada. Will the movement reach U.S. soil?

What if we promoted policies to shrink our economy, rather than grow it? What if government officials called for a recession, perhaps a depression, as the answer to humanity’s most intractable challenges?

As heretical as they sound, such questions frame very real policy proposals debated by a growing legion of economists, activists, and government officials representing the so-called Degrowth movement.

Degrowthists argue that only a contraction of the world’s developed economies can help reduce dependence on fossil fuel and other environmental resources, slow climate change, and shrink income disparities in developed nations while building wealth in emerging ones.

“Constant and instant growth is a failed paradigm,” suggests Nicolas Kosoy, an ecological economist at McGill University and one of the organizers of the International Conference on Degrowth in the Americas, a weeklong event next May in Montreal.

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