Note — Jun 21, 2020

COVID-19 Broke the Economy. What If We Don’t Fix It?

At Vice, Shayla Love looks at our current moment and wonders why we would even want to fix the economy, perhaps it’s the occasion to rethink it and angle towards greater human well-being, not towards an ever rising GDP. Via multiple quotes from Jason Hickel, she makes a good case that I agree with, as previous issues of the newsletter might have made clear.

However, I’m including the article in part because it brought to mind the movement to defund the police. There is perhaps a common framing here; dismantle existing systems and rebuild them in a more inclusive, respectful, humans-first manner. Boyer in the essay above also alludes to this when he talks about how we externalize the suffering of people of colour like we do the carbon from the economy.

What if, instead of going back to work full-time, we decided to work less, buy less, make less, and not fight to raise GDP at any cost? […]

”What kind of a daft system means that if we put the brakes on and calm down for a few weeks the whole thing implodes?” […]

Along with robust other policies around healthcare, housing, and education, degrowth would mean that people can work and earn less without a massive blow to quality of life. It also calls for more progressive rates of taxation, so that wealth is more evenly redistributed. […]

”Degrowth is not about degrowing the entire economy indiscriminately, but rather growing some sectors that are important and degrowing others that are destructive.” […]

More → This by Hickel from a few years back; Basic income isn’t just a nice idea. It’s a birthright is one of the most interesting ideas I’ve seen for the financing of a UBI, which is of course very adjacent to degrowth.