The Conversation: Joe Herbert: Degrowth is the radical post-Brexit future the UK needs

I find the ideas at the core of Mr. Herbert’s article interesting. The notion of “degrowth” is compelling. Especially considering the predictions of Ms Toynbee’s hard-right revolution in my previous post. What I find difficult to conceptualise, is the how? Yes “the logic of infinite growth is driving ecosystem collapse and climate breakdown.” Yes the “heavily polluting countries of the global north – such as the UK – must undergo a phase of managed and socially equitable economic contraction.” Yes endless economic growth has “left our society overworked, over-stressed and plagued by extreme levels of inequality.” I agree “poverty and inequality could be tackled by implementing a universal basic income.” The intellectual arguments are there. But as I said, what I don’t understand, is the how? Those at the top of the pyramid will not give up their privilege. They will react with hostility at any attempt to redistribute wealth through taxation. Any attempt to seize their assets will be met with violence. The strengthening of right-wing economic policies has come with boots on the ground. Those soldiers will be mobilised, and will have to be fought. The problem is wars are great for growth. So how do you degrow society without going to war?

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