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July 23, 2024

Degrowth

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Byron and Tweed Councils pursue housing project dreams

Long-held council dreams of new, affordable housing on public land in the Byron and Tweed Shires are closer to being realised, mayors say, with state and federal government support.

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With honourable intentions and a clarion call for action, Richard Jones’s article on ‘Degrowth’ (21 September) raises some critical issues for those concerned about the state of the global environment and increasing social inequalities and injustices. Sit up and take notice.

By coincidence The Echo, same edition, has a letter by David Bradbury, and a rebuttal article by Damian Kassabgi, in relation to Chile where neoliberalist capitalism was ushered in an experiment by Chile, under the ruthless Pinochet dictatorship, courtesy of the USA, free-market economist Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys, circa 1973. To this day, this odious doctrine, which is now economic orthodoxy, still permeates political economic discourse globally.

Inherent in capitalism’s logic is expansion and growth, all predicated on rates of exploitation, towards higher profits. As a result, the crises besetting the planet are exposing the inherent contradictions and global warming, climate change, environmental destruction, accelerating social/income inequalities, and commodification of everything will only continue to increase.

Unfortunately, it will take more than middle class sensibilities’ hyperbole – ‘simplicity, sharing, and working together’; the powers that be fear nothing about the economic / political system of capitalism being dismantled and replaced, so the spectre of eco-fascism remains a real worry as the crisis unfolds. Understanding how political and economic power has manifested in our institutions, and is used by the mainstream media to shape public opinion, and most importantly how and who benefits, remain vital, for bringing about positive change. Identifying political agency that serves the interests of ordinary people and protects ecological integrity is a step towards creating a better, more just, inclusive world.

The so called ‘communist’ (Stalinist) regimes, as ‘existing communism’ were never that, just authoritarian, undemocratic, and moribund, doomed to fail, and served as no example to follow. 

The Degrowth Movement is not homogeneous and is vague about what is proposed change the capitalist system to, or how to work within it, and what needs to be done, especially the de-coupling of the economy. All vitally important questions to find genuine democratic solutions. 

Boyd Kellner, Newrybar


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