An exponential curve is not something commonly found in nature, and when it is, it is usually dangerous. Just like how populations in an ecosystem have a carrying capacity, our economy should be limited. A lot of times people say that the economy needs to grow to keep up with the continually growing human population, but I would argue that they are less dependent on one another than one would think, and if there is no stabilization factor, they are both going to reach an undeniable, disastrous natural limit or “carrying capacity.” This limit is already being shown, in the very real threat of climate change, deforestation, mass extinction, population density, food scarcity and the list goes on.
This idea of “degrowth” may be radical and non-capitalistic, but the idea of zero/negative economic growth is very appealing. It is clear that as our economy grows, the amount of waste and use of fossil fuels also grows. A quote from the article states that, “to date, there are hardly any countries who can claim an absolute reduction in material use or carbon emissions while growing.” This is very important because while some people would think that we can continue to do what we are doing as long as we just make an effort to clean up waste better or invest more in renewable energy, the reality is that we are already past the point of human destruction. We are in the Anthropocene. We have caused species to go extinct, we have changed the chemical makeup of the atmosphere, we have put so much plastic in the oceans that it has essentially created land mass. We need to stop what we are doing, and so a radical idea actually isn’t so far out of the range of thinking.
I don’t think that the idea of “degrowth” is perfect. The focus on the evils of capitalism seem pointed and accusatory. The article states that ecological technological advancements are not in the scope of degrowth because they also promote growth and consumption, but I would argue that we need more technology to make processes more efficient so that they consume less. It also assumes that this new society of simplicity and care/education/environment is something everyone would be susceptive to, however I don’t believe that is something our era of humans could transition to, maybe an earlier, more primal era would be. However there are things about degrowth that I find promising. Such as the idea that science should become more political, or the argument that growth can never produce enough for everyone because if everyone is growing, then no one is actually gaining anything. The main idea I appreciate from the degrowth argument is the criticism of the social idea that growth is a good thing. As I mentioned earlier, anything with unlimited growth is bound for an unwanted fate. The idea of limiting our growth before nature does is mature, productive, and maybe even revolutionary.