My Take on Degrowth: TINA (There Is No Alternative)

I am very happy to be known as someone who considers that human society will never again, following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, be capable of achieving, regaining, or even restarting the kind of economic growth that has been the signature feature of national and world endeavour for the previous one and a half centuries or so, and the all-consuming goal and expectation of all societies for around the last half century.

There Is No Alternative (TINA for short) was a favourite slogan for Margaret Thatcher and her brand of economic liberalism.  A political strategy that introduced the world to free markets, free trade and capitalist globalization as the best (and only) way for modern nations to develop.  A strategy that has, through an orgy of consumption, greed and financial manipulation, brought us to a point where our global natural resources are reaching a state of depletion, our global climate is changing and is on the verge of reaching catastrophic tipping points, our population levels and rate of population increase are fast becoming unmanageable, and we are rapidly reaching planetary limits on these and other restraints to the continuation of the path that we are jointly treading.

There Is No Alternative now to altering our course from one of Growth to one of Degrowth if we collectively wish to avert complete disaster.

The TINA proposition means that maintaining the status quo is not an option.  We have already passed the point where there would be no consequences if we were to completely and globally bring a halt to our growth paradigm today, right now.  We will have to accept that, wholeheartedly enter into a path of degrowth and deal with those inevitable consequences as they arise.

I personally feel inadequate to make these sort of arguments with the kind of authority and force that they deserve.  Allow me to point you to a masterful discourse on this and related subjects by eminent people who I feel have a good grasp of the situation.  It is worth reading. I have myself just read this interesting piece and have decided to follow their blog. Health issues will be, and already are, one of the consequences that I mentioned earlier.

I am not hopeful that humanity can by any means divert its trajectory from one of utter societal, environmental and population collapse, to something less destructive, before it is too late to do so.  That would be a big ask, and not a directional change that most individuals, groups, political parties, governments and nations would be prepared to make. Even if they fully understood the pressing reasons for such a change.

For myself, I cannot with all conscience continue to support systems that seek to maintain the current way of things.  Consequently, with all Australian political parties hell-bent on continuing the neoliberal ‘growth at all costs’ paradigm, I will not be casting my democratic vote at the national elections next year, or at those of any other level of government.  Instead, because non-voting in this country is punishable by a fine, I will turn up at the voting booth and spoil my ballot paper by writing on it a message something like ‘None of the available choices is acceptable to me’.

I will continue, with renewed vigour, to effect my personal preparations to ensure as best I can that I will have at least some success at being one of those few who will make it through the great changes that are expected to come our way in the near future, should I live so long.

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