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An article in the Sunday New York Times Book Review on June 9, entitled “Shrink the Economy, Save the World?” indicates that what has always been with us since the 1970s Limits to Growth ploy, by Donella and Dennis Meadows, Randers and Behrens, in the form of the “ecology movement,” looks as if it is prepared to go into high gear again on the pseudo-theoretical level, with a bevy of news books about “degrowthing.” And as with the 1970s’ operations, it has also taken root in “the Left,” seeing growth as a “capitalist phenomenon,” and “degrowthing” as anti-capitalist.

The article lists a flurry of recent books on the theme: Tim Jackson’s Post-Growth: Life After Capitalism; Kate Soper’s Post-Growth Living; Giorgos Kallis’s In Defense of Degrowth; Vincent Eigey and Anitra Nelson’s Exploring Degrowth; and Jason Hickel’s Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World.

New York Times author Jennifer Szalai reveals that the term really had its origins the same year as Limits to Growth in 1972, coined by French writer André Gorz, as “décroissance.” She says that “degrowthing” remained on the “fringes of the fringe” for decades, until “increasing awareness about global warming percolated into public debates in the early 2000s. The realization that we hadn’t innovated our way out of our ecological predicament, along with inequalities laid bare by the 2008 financial crisis, fueled a more widespread distrust of the conventional capitalist wisdom. Maybe relentless economic growth was more poison than panacea,” she argues.

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