The Post COVID-19 financial collapse has only accelerated these trends, causing many jobs to be gone forever, and exposed many weaknesses of our growth-obsessed capitalist economy.
The idea of Degrowth (in French: Decroissance) attributed in 1972 to the social philosopher André Gorz, focuses on work and working time as a mean to enhance individual and social life, rather than intensifying ruthless economic competition and social division.
Thus Degrowth includes 5 economic features:
(1) Putting life at the center of economic systems.
Instead of growth and wasteful production, life and wellbeing are at the center of healthcare, education, renewable energy, and ecological agriculture economies.
2) Radically reevaluate how much and what work is necessary for a good life for all.
COVID-19 for example has shown that domestic work is essential and needs to be valued and monetized. Similarly, remote work has shown we can reduce working time and introduce schemes for work-sharing.
3) Organize society around the provision of essential goods and services.
While we need to reduce wasteful consumption and travel, basic human needs, such as the right to food, housing, and education have to be secured for everyone through universal basic services or universal basic income schemes.
4) Democratize society.
Enabling all people to participate in the decisions that affect their lives, in particular, marginalized groups is seminal to the economy. Energy, food, housing, health, and education need to be decommodified and be used based on economic cooperation.
5) Political and economic systems should be based on solidarity.
Redistributive justice — transnational, intersectional, and intergenerational — must be the basis for reconciliation between current and future generations, social groups within countries, as well as between countries of the Global South and Global North.
The ideas behind Degrowth are not to reign in capitalism, but ponder what future measures can stimulate our recovery, with the focus on creating meaningful work conditions, not only as a source of income but also as a source of identity and individual self-esteem.
However implicit to Degrowth and meaningful work is also the urgency to revise the need for our current rent-seeking economy, where money is extracted from each transaction without adding value.
And indeed one of the reasons for the poor global economic performance and protracted inequality is the structure of the traditional banking system.
The financial collapse of Healthcare was quick and swift. Beyond physicians vowing to leave and hundreds of thousands of essential healthcare workers underpaid or undervalued, the healthcare industry lost during the pandemic over 1.4 million jobs!
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