Happy people don’t need to consume – the brutal statement of philosopher Serge Latouche
BY: JIMENA O. at pijamasurf.com
In a recent conference in Pamplona, the French degrowth ideologue, Serge Latouche, lucidly exposed his ideas about the illusion of infinite growth on a finite planet and his proposal for a transformation towards a qualitative and not quantitative vision of production.
Latouche says that since the industrial revolution the idea that “tomorrow is always better than today” and that “more is always better” has been promoted, in the unstoppable race of progress to dominate nature and pile up material goods. However, this growth, theoretically infinite, has become a perverse concept that includes growth of diseases, pollution, and poisoning under the belief that all growth is good. Rightly Latouche sees in growth a kind of religion where consumption is the rite of this belief.
In our society “it is believed that the gross domestic product” is equivalent to happiness, which necessarily makes the citizen consume more so that the gross domestic product continues to grow and because he believes that by consuming he will find this mythical happiness associated with consumer objects and the lifestyles they represent.
From his point of view, “we live engulfed by the accumulation economy that leads to frustration and wanting what we don’t have and don’t even need,” which, he says, leads to states of unhappiness. “We have detected an increase in suicides in France in children,” he added, to refer later to the granting by banks of consumer loans to people without salary and assets, as happened in the United States at the beginning of the global economic crisis. . For Professor Latouche, “happy people do not usually consume.”
For all this, Latouche believes that eventually the capitalist system will collapse in a traumatic way.