Thursday 20 May 2010

Glorious sovereign bankruptcy of the people

Perhaps one of the most interesting movements I have ever encountered is the French décroissance movement, otherwise known as the "ungrowth" anti-productive movement. It is a movement to not only reduce economic growth, but to actually turn back the clock and shrink previous growth to promote a healthier economy and society. (I promise I'm not making this up.) The centre-piece of this plan is obviously anti-globalization in nature and counts on a "voluntary simplicity" and "re-localization" of production. Economic growth, they argue, is ecologically destructive and responsible for both malnutrition in the third world and obesity in the developed world.

For the couple of years that I lived in France, I ran into quite a few adherents to the idea that economic growth was reckless and caused social problems that apparently never existed in pre-industrial societies. Thankfully, Europe has been saved from the menace of a growing economy by a quickly aging electorate intent on spending three or so odd decades of retirement living off the taxed incomes of children they neglected to have. Once again, Greece is leading the way in helping us to share in the glorious sovereign bankruptcy of the people. The birthplace of democracy has shown us the vivid picture of peace and serenity that comes with stalled economic growth. As true communist believers™, they now want to share that with the rest of us.

Update: The French have their wish. The Champs-Elysees has been reverted to farmland.


  1. I've been reading your blog and we've traded PJM comments a few times. You and I have had a lot of similar experiences. I've lived in France and seen firsthand the fruits of the welfare state.

    Right now I'm teaching high school economics in China (to expat dependents).

    Keep it up.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. Keep checking in!