Menu Close

The degrowth movement and population

Elinor Hurst

Herman Daly, in a responding viewpoint [1] to The Degrowth Alternative by Giorgos Kallis [2], articulates very well one of my biggest concerns with the degrowth movement. I’m in general agreement with much of their work, but their brushing aside of the population issue is inexplicable. According to Daly:

“ Degrowth currently pays too little attention to population growth, and this is especially the case if population growth arises from net immigration, as is the case in Western Europe and the US.

“ In the past, some degrowth writings have seemed to advocate a policy of open borders, although a reasoned case was not attempted. It would be good for them to be explicit about such a fundamental policy position.

“ Globalization erases national boundaries to the movement of goods (free trade) and capital (free capital mobility), and increasingly to people as well (free migration). Kallis discusses problems of ‘global governance’ without really offering a position for or against globalization as a driver of growth. I see global governance as requiring a federation of nations. But if goods, capital, and people cross national borders at will, then nations are basically dissolved as political units, and there is nothing left to federate -just post-national corporate feudalism in a global commons. ”


Leave a Reply