The EU’s annualized GDP growth rate, as of September 2022, was a paltry 1.4 percent, according to

But that number is apparently still too high for some EU authorities who back radical “Degrowth” policies predicated on the idea that an excess of economic growth is damaging the planet.

As EU economies were foundering, and citizen populations were being pummeled by a combination of disastrous COVID policy fallout, inflation, and war, the European Research Council (ERC) was funding a 10 million Euro study on how to implement Degrowth.

A summary of the project in a grant announcement issued in November stated:

“We face multiple intertwined crises – from climate change to geopolitical insecurity – should we rethink our understanding of economy, and move away from growth dependency? The REAL project aims to offer new pathways for what the researchers call a ‘post growth’ era, in which achieving universal human wellbeing is achieved within planetary boundaries – and removed from dependence on economic growth.”

The funding was allotted as part of the “Synergy Grants 2022” program overseen by the ERC.

Environmental scientist Giorgos Kallis, the grant recipient heading the study, is one of the foremost advocates of “Degrowth.”

Degrowth, Post-Growth, and One-Planet Lifestyles

Kallis and other Degrowth advocates argue that the impetus to have more productive economies providing greater goods and services to people is impossible to sustain, and is creating existential threats to humankind.

Their answer is “Degrowth,” or establishing policies that reduce consumption, and condition societies to live with and expect less.

Kallis has stated that a “post-growth” world is already happening and unstoppable, due to limits in resources, and strains resulting from economic models based on “relentless” growth policies.

The website lays out the basic tenets and agenda of Degrowth advocates. A section on “Why do we need a post-growth economy?” summarizes: 

“Why would we ever want anything other than growth? The short answer is that ongoing economic growth threatens our survival as a species. This claim is based on two provable realities:

“a) Total debt always expands in a modern capitalist system, setting us up for economic collapse.

“b) Total ecological footprint always expands in a modern capitalist system, setting us up for environmental collapse.”

Degrowth, unlike traditional marxist critiques of “capitalism” (Marx’s term and framework for re-defining and critiquing the evolved phenomenon of market economies), doesn’t try to substitute a better ideological engine of economic growth.

Rather it argues successful growth in a finite world has created seeds of its own destruction that are now sprouting everywhere.

The antidote, as outlined on, is for societies to adopt “One-Planet Lifestyles.”  Living such a lifestyle involves consuming less, and procreating less:

“We are already using natural resources at a rate higher than that at which they are naturally renewed and creating wastes faster than nature can absorb them (known as ecological overshoot). Continued economic growth will only worsen this predicament. One-planet living acknowledges that we can, and must, mold our economies to fit within the limits imposed by our physical environment…”

“One-planet lifestyles acknowledge the pressures a growing human population, with highly inequitable patterns of production and consumption, place on a planet with finite physical resources.

Every human on Earth must consume natural resources to live. If we are to survive and thrive into the future, we must together consume within natural boundaries and produce less waste than nature can absorb.”

Many Europeans currently struggling to purchase home heating, food, and affordable housing might find it incredible that their government is not only failing to provide peace and prosperity, but is actively funding ideologically radical initiatives like “Degrowth.”

Of course, George Kallis and collaborator Anthropologist Jason Hickel likely aren’t complaining about the addition of 10 million Euros to their own “research” pocket book.

For further reading, see:


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