Less Is More – How Degrowth Will Save The World by Jason Hickel

Brilliantly joining the dots in a post-capitalist world

Economic anthropologist Jason Hickel leaves no stone unturned in this visionary and sharp analysis. This is a book about the climate and ecological emergency and how to solve it.

The first half of the book is a detailed overview of everything that is wrong and the root causes. The origins of capitalism are explored, particularly during the few hundred years leading up to the Industrial Revolution – how it rose on the back of organised violence, mass impoverishment and “the systematic destruction of self-sufficient subsistence economies”. A world view that separated humans from nature helped economic growth to became more important than human or planetary needs. Since the 1980s, “growthism” in developed countries such as the UK and USA has gone completely crazy.

Part two is all about the solutions. Hickel looks at the unquestioned assumptions of so-called progress. After a certain point, increased economic growth corresponds with a large number of social problems such as rising inequality, political instability and the deterioration of people’s physical and mental health. Chapter 5 outlines steps we need to take in order to survive – “Once we understand that we can flourish without growth, our horizons suddenly open up”. Hickel suggests ending planned obsolescence, cutting advertising, a shift from ownership to usership, ending food waste, and scaling down ecologically destructive industries. He goes on to look at how capitalism is organised around the constant manufacturing of scarcity – degrowth calls for abundance in order to render growth unnecessary.

In the final chapter, “Everything Is Connected”, the author presents a deeper opportunity for healing and recovery from the mess we are in. Learning from indigenous communities, we can develop a genuinely ecological world view and way of being. Behave as if all of reality is intimately interconnected – because it is.

%d bloggers like this: