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Social movements that object to unlimited growth

Social movements that object to unlimited growth

Since the publication of the Club of Rome Report in 1972 - the Meadows Report - the perverse effects of unlimited growth, the limits of growth, the factors that drive growth, economies and growth societies have been discussed in universities and social groups. , the fundamentals of the economy, the role of technology in growth, productivism, consumerism, progress, development, modernity, the change of ways of life, the change of life, the colonization of the social imaginary ( the school, the media, the information and urbanization infrastructures), the austerity, the frugality, the simple life, the gratuitousness, the philosophical certainties of the modern age.

Authors of great importance have nurtured this debate on modernity: Thoreau, Tolstoi, Gandhi, Huxley, Weil, Camus, Arendt, Mumford, Passolini, Marcuse, André Gorz, Ivan Illich, Georgescu Roegen, Cornelius Castoriadis, among others, however, the new awareness of the ecological and climate crisis and the critique of development and technology bring a new dimension to this discussion at the beginning of this century.

In November 2003, months after a terrible heat wave in Paris that kills about 15,000 people in a fortnight - mainly the elderly - an article by Serge Latouche was published in Le Monde Diplomatique entitledPour une societe pour the decroissance which sparks a great debate in France. The Paysanne (peasant) Confederation, the Greens, the alterworldists and a large part of French public opinion are involved in the debate. This article echoes the discussions of the seminarUndo Development Remake the World held in 2002 at UNESCO, in which some of the most important critics of the economy and industrial society participated: Ivan Illich, a few months before his death, and the supporters of the mathematician and economist Nicholas Georgescu Roegen and the psychoanalyst Cornelius Castoriadis, thinkers who in the 20th century played a very important role in this debate.

Latouche's article is reinforced by the founding of the newspaperLa Decroissance. Le journal de la joie de viemonthly publication made in Lyon that operates to this dayA few months later, in July 2004, Francois Schneider, born in The Hague, starts The March for the decroissance, accompanied by a donkey; for a year he travels a part of France; up to 500 people accompany him on his march at some point. In the following years, collectives, associations and even the Party for Decroissance were created. The first social movement that objects to growth for growth's sake (without limits) is born: the decroissance. In Australia, Clive Hamilton, director of The Australia Institute, published his book in 2003Growth fetish that encourages the formation of a social movement that objects to growth in that country. Paul Aries publishes in 2005Decroissance ou Barbariewhich is widely accepted by European social activists. Serge Latouche publishes his famous book in 2006La Pari de la decroissance(The Bet on Decrease) that contributes a multidisciplinary vision on this political slogan.

The movement started in France extends in the following years to Italy where it adopts the names ofRete per la decrescita or Decrescita happy (Mauro Bonaiuti and Maurizio Pallante) and in SpainDegrowth networkin Barcelona (Joan Martínez Alier) other degrowth groups from Madrid (Carlos Taibo, Julio García Camarero) Seville and other provinces. In October 2007, ECOMUNIDADES, the Autonomous Ecological Network of the Mexico Basin, convened the First Cycle of talksThe Bet on Growth(five in total) that lasts until the end of 2008. The first movement that objects to growth in the countries of the global South was born in Mexico. Ivan Illich's residence in Mexico, for more than 14 years, facilitates this pioneering work.

The terms decroissance, decrescita, degrowth, postwachstum and ungrowth have a very recent use in economic, political and social debates, although the ideas on which they are based have an ancient history. The project of an autonomous and economical society that is behind this slogan or flag, in effect, did not start yesterday. Without going back to certain utopias of the first socialism, nor to the anarchist tradition renewed by situationism, it was formulated at the end of the 1960s by Ivan Illich, André Gorz, Francois Partant and Cornenlius Castoriadis, in terms close to those used today by Serge. Latouche. The failure of development ideas in the South and the disorientation in the countries of the North have led many thinkers to question the consumer society and its imaginary bases: progress, science and technology. The words decroissance, degrowth and degrowth do not appear in economic and social dictionaries while their correlates are mentioned: "zero growth", "sustainable development" or "steady state". Mexico in 2007, to denote individual and collective will to reduce the waste of the gifts of nature and its consequence, the waste of human potentialities, however, it was included in the Vocabulary for a New Era, recently published by the Heinrich Foundation Boell.

In 2008, researchers from various European institutions managed to organize in Paris the First International Conference on Decroissance, for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity; the term degrowth is adopted, for international debates. In 2009, Tim Jackson published his book in EnglandProsperity without Growththat unleashes in that country the debate on the perverse effects of growth. In 2010, at the invitation of ECOMUNIDADES Red Ecologista Autónoma de la Cuenca de México, Serge Latouche visited Mexico and gives keynote lectures at various Mexican universities. Days after this visit, the Second International Degrowth Conference takes place at the University of Barcelona. In that year, Spain already had a great theoretical and practical advance in degrowth issues. In 2012, two international degrowth conferences take place, for ecological sustainability and social equity: that of the Americas, in Montreal and the Third International Degrowth Conference, in Venice. In 2014 the largest degrowth conference in history takes place: Leipzig, with the participation of more than 3,500 people from more than 90 countries. In 2016, the Fifth International Conference on Degrowth takes place in Budapest, with the participation of more than 600 people from more than 90 countries. At the end of August 2018, the Sixth Degrowth Conference will take place in Malmo, Sweden.

Criticism of growth grows in European, Canadian, Australian, American and Japanese universities. It is said to be the fastest growing political movement in Europe. Social groups are also growing which, in many countries, including countries of the South, are inspired by these criticisms to propose alternatives. The Zapatista movement and the Andean movement of Good Living inspire movements that object to unlimited growth. However, the interpretations of the slogans decroissance, decrease or de-growth are very diverse. There is no orthodoxy. The First North South Conference of Degrowth-Descrecimiento, Mexico City 2018, which will take place between September 3 and 7, aims to contrast the views of the Global North with the Global South on growth, in particular on the economic growth generated by technological advancement.

Within the framework of the preparatory activities for the First North South Conference on Degrowth-Descrecimiento, México City 2018 http://degrowth.descrecimiento.org/

By Miguel Valencia

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