How the concept of Degrowth economy is revealed in terms of conscious consumption
The life of modern man is focused on consumption. Consumption of goods, services, consumption of information, consumption of natural resources. The criticise the paradigm of economic growth and consumption is Degrowth this a term used for both a political, economic, and social movement. Degrowth argues for a reduction in global consumption and production and advocates a socially just and ecologically sustainable society with social and environmental well-being replacing gross domestic product (GDP) as the indicator of prosperity. The main argument of degrowth is that an infinite expansion of the economy is fundamentally contradictory to the finiteness of the Earth (Bengi Akbulut, 2021).
The slowdown in the growth of commodity-money relations is due to a decrease in demand and, as a result, a decrease in supply. However, practical ways to achieve slower growth are still being mapped out. Economist Giorgos Kallis says: «The challenge is how to create societies in which the lack of growth is not a disaster». After all, for a long time, people have been striving for the availability and abundance that the industrial age gave.
From interviews with eco-activists and leaders, we have highlighted moments in which they describe what they had to give up and what they managed to get in return. How the stress of restriction moves into the comfort zone and ceases to be perceived as stress?
An activist from Finland shares his impressions:
"I found myself stuck in the rat race; I was working a lot to be able to consume and travel, and found myself pursuing a fairly unsustainable and consumption oriented lifestyle. I spent a lot to have a nice home and to be able to have friends and family over. I admired expensive looking lifestyle and I was working alongside my studies, leaving me with little time and energy to actually be with friends and family. My actions and values were not in line." As a result of reduced consumption “ I think that I have gained more wellbeing by thinking about what really makes me happy, and the constant desire for new things has been replaced by presence with friends and family, for example.”
Representative of the zero waste movement in Finland, refuses to travel by plane in order to minimize carbon emissions:
“Sometimes I feel like it would be nice to just go for a trip abroad. However I believe that often behind the need there is something else, that new trip or stuff won’t solve or take away the negative feelings. I don’t feel like I’ve had to let go of something that I would now miss. I have learned to appreciate life’s small moments of happiness and time spent with family. I want to invest in over-all wellbeing rather than just enjoying life once a year on vacation.”
Reducing consumption as a competent distribution of the budget and savings:
“My husband and I have no desire to consume, we are people of a new formation who do not seek to buy housing, furniture, cars and the like. This is alien to us. We rent everything we need, do not buy extra, and spend the money on education and travel. Of course, someday we will have our own house outside the city, but we will try to adhere to minimalism there are too.”
Summing up, it is worth noting that consumption is a mechanism of psychological satisfaction, which everyone can break, one has only to choose the right motivation. For one, it is a reduction in working hours in order to be with loved ones and experience happiness. For another person, this is the rejection of a two-week trip to the sea, which will give strength and cheer up, and the optimization of each day through pleasant trifles and rituals. For the third, it is saving money on generally accepted benefits, such as a personal car, furniture, clothes and redistributing these funds for personal development.
Bengi, A. (2021)Degrowth,Rethinking Marxism,33:1,98-110,DOI: 10.1080/08935696.2020.1847014
Kallis, G. (2018). Degrowth. Agenda Publishing. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv5cg82g
Komatsu et al., (2022). Is happiness possible in a degrowth society?
Futures, 144, 10.1016/j.futures.2022.103056