Dharma, non-attachment and convivial degrowth in Canada – let’s start the conversation

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Last night I heard a great show on CBC Radio’s Ideas on the Degrowth Paradigm (http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2013/12/10/the-degrowth-paradigm/)

Here’s how Degrowth/Decroissance Canada describes the concept, in simple terms:

Convivial degrowth is a relatively new concept, especially in North America. Degrowth or decroissance has been around for a number of years in France and other parts of Europe, with some proponents even calling it a movement. It is not just (or even) about negative economic growth, as the English word might imply, but rather represents a complex paradigm shift away from our current industrial society and its model and culture of consumption and accumulation.

There are a number of similar currents of discussion with close affinity or at least similarities: post-development, steady-state economics, ecological economics, eco-socialism, sustainable economics, voluntary simplicity, slowcialism, frugal abundance and the (mainly Andean) indigenous concept of “buen vivir” or “sumak kawsay“, “living well but not better”.

As one would expect with any idea which proposes a radical rejection of and move away from our current industrial society, degrowth is a complex subject, with many elements and many diverse proponents arguing passionately about their particular interpretation and/or priorities for an urgently needed new society. In some ways, some of these arguments sound like differences over who has more angels on the head of his or her pin, rather than a celebration of the fact they are only slightly different “angels”, often with features adapted to the multiple cultures and identities that make up our diverse world. Fortunately, celebration and thoughtful collaboration on research, building and experimenting with elements of the degrowth paradigm shift is becoming more common.

Based on that description, I’d say there’s a strong basis for a conversation about degrowth from a Buddhist perspective (as was alluded to in the Ideas show). Yet even though there was a major international conference on degrowth held in Montreal last year, I have yet to find any web links for Buddhism and Degrowth.

So, what do you think? Leave a comment here, or in our Facebook group: Plot to Save the Earth


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