There is something I would like to run by my readers, especially as I am passionately enthusiastic about the ideas behind the Arts & Crafts movement of a century ago. Rightly, it is not merely an aesthetic or artistic movement, but something profoundly social, political and even close to spiritual.
The movement against the “dogma” of economic “growth” and “sustainable development” seems to be very much in this way of thinking inherited from men like William Morris. They rise up against the leviathan of modern capitalism, industry, banking and the consumer culture fed by advertising and marketing by psychological manipulation. The Décroissance ideology reacts from the dehumanisation of humanity but putting money before persons.
The kind of Socialism we have in Europe is really a kind of state capitalism that consumes gigantic amounts of “other people’s” money, squandering and pillaging the resources of the earth no less greedily than private enterprise. In Capitalism, man exploits man, and in Communism, it’s the other way round! In the end of the day, the only thing that is worth fighting for is the good of the planet that supports our lives and ourselves – human beings with a meaning to life, freedom, happiness and love.
The protagonists of décroissance (de-growth) see the winding down of the “monster” as the only alternative to human misery and the destruction of our planet. These principles are found in many political and ecological ideologies and principles. This ideology upholds the principles of humanism, democracy and the values of the Enlightenment. Ecology and social questions are intimately linked.
The central principle of de-growth is reducing our needs and consumption, being happy with much less, living simply. The Christian Gospel preaches simplicity, poverty and the quest for things above material needs. We need to be free from the power of multi-national business and the Prometheus / Frankenstein of modern banking and financial speculation, the very idea that money is everything.
From what I have seen of the décroissance movement, it seems to be realistic and free from misleading “romanticism” about past ages. There are niches where everyone can promote such ideas, particularly by living as simply as possible with as little money as possible, and in the country rather than the cities. I would like to meet people who are interested in these ideas and working for a society that may one day be exorcised of the “monster”.
Of course there are risks of radical ideologies creeping in from the extreme left and the extreme right, encouraging violence or ideas such as killing of parts of the human population. Such ideas are clearly unacceptable, and I eschew any group that fosters such ideas. We must have beautiful and positive visions, not bitterness and hatred. The enemy is productivism and the consumer society, modern feudalism, not human beings or humanity.
Perhaps this could be a new mission for Christians in the world…