Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to modelling by University of Sydney and ETH Zürich, scaling back total production and placing a cap on maximum wealth would not only save the planet, it would also allow us all to enjoy shorter working weeks and the financial security of a generous universal basic income.
Climate Change Modeling of “Degrowth” Scenarios – Reduction in GDP, Energy and Material Use
By UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY MAY 11, 2021
Well-being can be maintained in a degrowth transition.
Degrowth focuses on the global North and is defined as an equitable, democratic reduction in energy and material use while maintaining wellbeing. A decline in GDP is accepted as a likely outcome of this transition.
“We can still satisfy peoples’ needs, maintain employment and reduce inequality with degrowth, which is what distinguishes this pathway from recession,” Mr Keyßer says.
“However, a just, democratic and orderly degrowth transition would involve reducing the gap between the haves and have-nots, with more equitable distribution from affluent nations to nations where human needs are still unmet — something that is yet to be fully explored.”
A ‘degrowth’ society could include:
- A shorter working week, resulting in reduced unemployment alongside increasing productivity and stable economic output.
- Universal basic services independent of income, for necessities i.e. food, health care, transport.
- Limits on maximum income and wealth, enabling a universal basic income to be increased and reducing inequality, rather than increasing inequality as is the current global trend.
I think it is only fair to give the professors an opportunity to showcase their degrowth theories, by slashing their university funding, so they can demonstrate by example how much happier we would be if we all embraced a permanent reduction in income.