Slow Down, Feel Better

I have for many years been a follower of the de-growth movement which

“emphasizes the need to reduce global consumption and production (social metabolism) and advocates a socially just and ecologically sustainable society with well-being replacing GDP as the indicator of prosperity. Degrowth highlights the importance of autonomy, care work, self-organization, commons, community, localism, work sharing, happiness and conviviality.”

My own views on de-growth tie in with my anti-capitalism and mutual aid proclivities.  However, it is possible to be a de-growth capitalist as this interesting article by Barry Schwartz explains. He blames the push for efficiency for many of our ills. He notes in particular that “unproductive” expenditures would have served us well this year:

“Why hadn’t we stockpiled key supplies and machines, built up hospital capacity, or ensured the robustness of our supply chains? The reason, of course, is that it would have been seen as inefficient and profit-robbing. Money spent on masks and gowns gathering dust in a warehouse could always be put to more ‘productive’ use in the marketplace. Likewise, employing more people than needed under ‘ordinary’ circumstances, or making products yourself rather than relying on international supply chains, would have been seen as inefficient. One lesson, then, is that to be better prepared next time, we need to learn to live less ‘efficiently’ in the here and now.”

He suggests that:

“[w]hen making decisions, instead of asking ourselves which option will give us the best results, we should be asking which option will give us good-enough results under the widest range of future states of the world … The term used to describe this approach to decision-making is satisficing. And satisficing with an eye toward a radically uncertain future might be called robust satisficing. Satisficing is a form of insurance – insurance against financial meltdowns, global pandemics, nasty bosses, boring teachers and crappy roommates.”

Of interest to Vancouverites:

“if people thought about their homes less as financial investments and more as places to live, full of the friction of kids, dogs, friends, neighbours and community, there might be less property speculation with an eye toward buying and selling houses merely for profit.”

An interesting read.

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