Graffiti which reads the only sustainable growth is degrowth
Image credit via pasa47 under CC BY 2.0.

Given the worsening climate emergency, many environmentalists on the left are talking about degrowth – a model of economic thinking which rejects the continued pursuit of infinite economic growth. For all its proponents, there is an equally strong collective of campaigners who regularly seek to reject and discredit the idea of living beyond economic growth. As a result, degrowth regularly garners controversy.

This resource guide hopes to be a starting point for those interested in degrowth but intimidated by the discussion so far. It includes books, articles, videos, and podcasts to listen to if you’re interested in understanding the substance and limits of degrowth.

Degrowth – Five books

  • The Case for Degrowth by Giorgos Kallis, Susan Paulson, Giacomo D’Alisa and Frederico Demaria. This short book brings together key thinkers on the problem of growth to explain degrowth and why we should transition towards it.
  • Exploring Degrowth: A Critical Guide by Vincent Liegey and Anitra Nelson. This recent book from Pluto Press provides an overview of both the idea of degrowth and the movement pushing for it, including a chapter on the link between decolonisation and degrowth.
  • Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth. Whilst Raworth declines to use the term degrowth, her book on the doughnut model looks at central issue of pursuing continued economic growth without attention to human needs or environmental destruction.
  • In defence of degrowth by Giorgos Kallis. This collection of Kallis’ essays on degrowth provides a wide-ranging introduction to the topic by one of its leading proponents. More importantly, the book can be downloaded for free here.
  • Farewell to Growth by Serge Latouche. Written by one of the earlier thinkers within the degrowth movement, this book lay the bedrock for much contemporary writing on the topic.

Degrowth – Five articles

  • Degrowth: a theory of radical abundance by Jason Hickel for the Real-World Economics Review. Hickel is one of the leading proponents of degrowth and in this short paper he argues for degrowth as a vision of collective abundance.
  • Four Principles of Degrowth and why they matter by Anitra Nelson and Vincent Liegey for Pluto Press. This blog acts as companion to the authors’ book on degrowth, giving a short introduction to key principles of degrowth.
  • Unlearning: From Degrowth to Decolonization by Jamie Tyberg for the Rosa Luxemburg Siftung New York. This article attempts to unpick the relationship between the need for decolonisation and the practices of degrowth.
  • Degrowth and Feminism by Corinna Dengler and Birte Strunk for How does degrowth relate to the fight against gender injustice? This article gives an introduction to the key aspects of a feminist degrowth.
  • Capitalism and Degrowth: An Impossibility Theorem by John Bellamy Foster for Monthly Review. This article attempts to tackle the possible relationship between degrowth theorists and ecological Marxism, including a crucial critique of Latouche’s work.

Degrowth – Five videos

Degrowth – Five podcasts