Beware of the “decrease” of the left, anti-capitalist movement

It would be natural to believe that almost everyone on the planet is horrified by the death and economic destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But some see body bags and shutting down economic production as some sort of strange disguised blessing.

They are the proponents of a radical and increasingly chic left movement called “degrowth”. It is the idea that economic growth and increased prosperity are at the root of massive ecological destruction and health pandemics. The agenda is to shut down industrial production and industries like fossil fuels, automobiles and air travel that contribute to global warming. COVID-19 and the economic lockdown are seen as kind of a test for the theory.

For example, Professor Natasha Chassagne of the University of Tasmania and disciple of this movement gushes that “we can learn many lessons and opportunities from the current health crisis by fighting global warming”.

Former senior Obama administration climate adviser Jason Bordoff writes in Foreign Policy magazine that “COVID-19 may bring short-term climate benefits by reducing energy use, and even longer-term benefits. if economic recovery is tied to climate goals ”, but he adds almost regretfully that the“ benefits ”of the pandemic in terms of reduced carbon emissions are likely to be“ fleeting and negligible ”.

Degrowth is defended by its supporters as “a political, economic and social movement based on ecological economics, anti-consumerism and anti-capitalism”.

The official Decay website explains that COVID-19 is “an example of why decay is necessary; it shows the unsustainability and fragility of our current way of life. Additionally, the response to COVID-19 has shown that degrowth is possible, as society (and the state) has demonstrated the ability to radically change the modus operandi in response to a major crisis. “

The philosophy that increased prosperity is the problem and not the solution to our societal problems is not new. In the 1970s, many on the left embraced the ideology of the “limits on growth” of too many people, too little food and energy, and impending ecological disaster. These ideas were discredited over the next 40 years as innovation and technology, plus a renewed appreciation for economic freedom, rapid growth in living standards around the world, and massive surpluses of food and energy. .

The frightening thing is that many of those who subscribe to the climate change hysteria, as well as the donors who provide tens of billions of dollars in resources to climate problems, have come to agree that growth is there. enemy and that we would all be better off if we were a little poorer.

This is wrong on so many levels that we don’t know where to start. First, economic freedom and growth go hand in hand and unquestionably have positive benefits for the world’s poorest citizens, as well as for health and the environment. Nations that have decay are much more polluted and have much higher death rates than the United States.

The protection of the environment is the ultimate “superior good”. The richer a society gets, the more it spends on clean air, clean water and nature conservation.

The degrowth fashion – I hope this is just that – also reveals the modern left movement for what it is at its heart. It is anti-growth, anti-people, anti-free enterprise and anti-prosperity. The whole movement for climate change is an attack on cheap and abundant energy and rising standards of living. This raises the question of how we could ever count on the left to fix our economy, help the poor, and make us all more prosperous if their goal is to shrink the economy, not grow it?

Stephen Moore is a union columnist.

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Estelle D. Eden

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