December 7, 2022

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Serge Latouche: “We are drug addicts. But energy austerity is not a retreat: it is a fraud “

It is an opening, a call to find another possible world here and now, in the face of a crisis that once again exposes the fragility of our society. Serge Latouche made resistance to consumerism a moral and a movement low growth, more than 15 years ago. meet him away Zoom, immersed in his studio in Paris, among quotes and books. His latest writing, just published in Italy by Bollati Boringhieri, is Frugal abundance as an art for living.

From recession to energy crisis: It’s time for rationing. Is underestimating growth, without picking it up, real?

Not at all, the opposite is true! Low growth is a fundamental change in the system in which we live today Recession And with relatively scarce resources due to the war in Ukraine. in France There is talk of reducing energy consumption by 10%, but for a sustainable society, the ecological footprint must be reduced by 75%! This is not a retreat, it is a scam. Do you want proof? Ecologists know that in order to reduce the ecological footprint, it is necessary to reduce inequalitybut not now that the gap has widened, a measure as limited as the tax imposed Additional earnings managed to agree.

In his view, sluggish growth is associated with happiness. We look away from happiness.

We are addicted to growth. Our system is drug based. They colonize our imaginations, and teach us that the more you consume the happier you will be. It looks like a file austerity Not compatible with joy. But people know that’s not true. There is a beautiful clip of pirate writings This says it all: Pasolini, to quote Piero Bevilacqua, “an introduction to degrowth.” “Once – writes Pasolini – Fornino or Caserino as they are called in Rome was forever cheerful (…), he came to the rich man’s house with a natural and chaotic smile (…). It is not happiness that matters, it is not for happiness to happen revolution, but the condition of the peasant and the lower class knew how to express a certain real happiness. Today this happiness has been lost with development.” Happiness is our primitive condition. With this productive and consumerist system we destroyed the meaning of life and undermined coexistence. Social relations are more important to happiness than consumption.

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The impulse to consume is not as a necessity but as a “cultural colonization”?

Yes, it is a propaganda mechanism, propaganda. Make us believe that we are not satisfied with what we have to make us want what we do not have. But the regime betrayed its promises. The richer you are, the more you earn, and the more you consume, the poorer you are. Growth economy compounded unfortunate. We are in a vicious circle, and breaking it is the difficult challenge of degrowth.

His critics will say: “You speak easily…”.

There is something true in this criticism, and it is no coincidence that most of the popular classes have abandoned the parties of the left. It happened in France and Italy. They vote for the populists, against immigration: it is the war among the poor. The situation is tragic. First, the election results in Sweden and now in Italy: Berlusconi’s comeback is great for us!

The mass party is missing from the perspective of radical change.

The retreat movement will not enter politics. “Democratic renewal,” in the words of my friend Marco Dirio, must be a horizon of meaning to create a sustainable future.

For Carlene Petrini, Slow Food must become political. what do you think?

It depends on what Petrini means by “politics”. It would be wrong to start a party. To say that his movement goes against the project of the Italian right would instead find me agreeing. Slow Food is truly a political movement, and since its founding: Terra Madre and its motto “Good, Healthy, Fair” a hymn to under-growth, has been a revolutionary enterprise. Today, food is not good, healthy and just, and to compensate for it it is necessary to leave the agricultural business, from intensive farming … This is politics, even if political politics do not include these requests. At first, I did it 5 starsUnfortunately, they were lost. I told her Baby Grillo, which we often felt would be wrong to enter politics: it was right for the movement to continue to put pressure on the parties, to devote itself to a radical alternative.

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Speaking of parties and programmes, in her opinion, a good economy cannot be replaced by a bad economy, perhaps by dyeing it green, just and social: we need to get out of the economy.

In France, some opposition parties are doing an excellent job, but they stop at denouncing the power enslaved by financial lobbyists.

And to not be limited to denouncing, how do you become a “growth objector”?

We must do everything, in theory and in practice, to get out of this society overwhelmed by the growing economy. In my little way, I’m trying to decolonize fantasy. And you do it with your newspaper, too. Having an ethic of backtracking doesn’t do much, but it helps to live in enforced austerity well. I don’t have a TV, I don’t use a cell phone, I don’t own a car, I’ve been cycling for 50 years: lack of power or exorbitant prices don’t affect me much. It is a form of education in balance and freedom, to restore the future: it is not enough to change the system. Even if we were millions, that would be enough. Palace is very powerful.

You say that it is necessary to invert relations and means of production in Marxist memory. How?

You can already see it. The system is in crisis and it will only get worse: they sold us the false myth of “happy globalization” and now we are on the verge of collapse, the pace of war and epidemic has accelerated. Windows of opportunity can open: all societies find a way to save themselves. But to avoid the emergence of new forms of ecofascism, it is necessary to seek an alternative society: environmentally sustainable, just and democratic.

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Do you feel close to Pope Francis because of your theses?

He should ask the Pope if he’s about to collapse! (Laugh) the post Laudato Si He talks about declining growth. It was announced to me, precisely by my friend Petrine, who, I will not reveal a secret, often hears the Pontiff.

The New Economy Foundation, which you cited, builds a happiness index that overturns the classic rankings of GDP and development index. last ranking?

In the lead, Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia. Somewhat questionable platform if you consider the violence in these countries. In the last place, worse than us, the United States.

The pandemic has prompted us to review the foundations of our system…

during the Close They met again I dolphins In the Grand Canal, the birds returned to the trees in front of the house, the air was cleaner … but it was an arc. The Covid virus has given governments stronger control over society, even with forms of video surveillance as in China: a new paradigm of ecotechnical totalitarianism. We are moving more and more towards societies in which the management of scarcity, the end of nature’s abundance, is entrusted to technocracies whose sole aim is to maintain the standard of living of the ruling classes. We are already here. away from democracy.