‘Degrowth’ and renewal


Sir, – Mark Paul excoriates the “degrowth” movement whose ideas, if acted upon, will necessarily require “the total remaking, from top to bottom, of every aspect of society, the economy and civil liberties” (“Economic degrowth advocated by Greens’ radical wing would bring carnage and human misery”, June 19th). Paul darkly warns us that the degrowthers may only be able to achieve their aims through authoritarian government.

Yet, it would be well to remember that Robert Kennedy, hardly an authoritarian leftist, advocated looking beyond growth to measure the health of a society.

In a speech at the University of Kansas on March 18th, 1968, Kennedy noted the limitations of gross national product which “counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl . . . Yet . . . does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.” – Yours, etc,


Dublin 2.