In a recent conversation with a close friend, a seasoned businessman known for his practical ethical values, I was alerted to the complexity of the degrowth issue. His unexpected endorsement of degrowth, while surprising, made me rethink my assumptions. He argued that the rampant growth of our times is detrimental to us.
This contradiction from someone whose business acumen has fueled successful enterprises raised a red flag for me. How could he, having established thriving ventures, claim that growth is harmful?
Degrowth prophets shortlist
Until then, I had regarded degrowth as a slogan emerging from Western culture, championed by various environmentally conscious groups that have significant influence over mainstream media and even governmental bodies like the European Commission and European Parliament. Numerous examples underscore this perception, including the Green European Foundation founded by the European Parliament (SIC!). Their publication, the Green European Journal, recently explored the concept of “Imagining Europe Beyond Growth.” This seemingly absurd establishment of an NGO-like institution by a parliamentary body challenges democratic principles and begs disbelief. One might even anticipate that the same Parliament would exploit the Green European Foundation’s stance to justify certain measures, using the guise of civil society support.
Scientific communities like “Research and Degrowth” unsurprisingly flourish with public funding, a pattern mirrored by organizations like the United Nations. A cursory search reveals a plethora of articles on “United Nations and Degrowth.” The World Economic Forum (WEF), often striving for impartiality, refers to degrowth as “post-growth.” This semantic manipulation, reminiscent of tactics employed by figures like Lenin and Stalin in Communist Russia, echoes George Orwell’s warnings. Notably, Klaus Schwab, a WEF founder, openly articulates his intentions through the Great Reset agenda.
The malignant growth as a heroin addiction
Returning to my conversation about degrowth, the revelation of who champions it elucidates my disagreement with my friend. He envisions a growth orchestrated not only by national and supranational governments but also fueled by them. His concern lies with the perilous path of economic growth facilitated by government subsidies that drive us toward disaster.
Here, our perspectives converge. Centrally planned growth, as elucidated by thinkers like Hayek and von Mises, leads inexorably to harmful growth—an expansion that nurtures malignant cells akin to cancer, stifling civil society initiative and private enterprise. Authentic growth arises organically, from the bottom up. Top-down growth operates as a metaphorical addiction, akin to heroin. Subsidies provide instant gratification that becomes indispensable, leading to a premature and agonizing demise, akin to the fate endured in the Soviet Union.
The hypocritical thief cries, “Catch the thief!”
Today’s tragic irony is evident: degrowth is espoused by those responsible for malignant growth. Likewise, those who fueled unsustainable growth advocate for a green transition, with no vested interest. A farmer understands the stakes and never acts against nature. A true entrepreneur comprehends their reliance on people and the environment. If not subsidized, they would not oppose nature. Those who did, suffered eventual collapse. Those primarily dependent on subsidies lack sustainability and disregard their surroundings. Nor do they truly value growth, for artificial incentives sustain them.
Given the substantial subsidization—akin to an addictive drug—of a major portion of Western industry, a way out seems elusive.
However, let us face this challenge resolutely, even if it means facing our downfall with dignity.