Protesters hold a sign reading Degrowth Now after they blocked the A12 highway during an Extinction Rebellion protest on March 11, 2023 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images)


Nature magazine study predicts catastrophic consequences of ‘degrowth’ policy

The British scientific journal Nature has published a study that forecasts the potentially devastating effects of the so-called “degrowth” economic model.


The British scientific journal Nature has published a study that forecasts the potentially devastating effects of the so-called “degrowth” economic model.

With the European Union strongly focused on environmentalism, climate change and sustainability, alternative economic views have stepped into the limelight. Notable among them is the degrowth model, promoted by left-wing and “green” ideologues, which has taken centre stage, receiving large subsidies and praise from European bodies.

Now, scientific research by Professor Jonathan D Moyer shows that the anti-capitalist degrowth model, or “Global Negative Growth Big Push” as it is referred to in his study, will likely produce negative results.

Prof Moyer’s paper, published in Nature on September 25, compares possible future scenarios. It reveals that if the global economic system shifts to degrowth, the economic and societal results could be disastrous and would “not solve the global climate crisis”.

Under the degrowth scenario, future carbon emissions will drop “but also dramatically undermine the pursuit of global development goals”.

For example, the professor predicts that the elimination of poverty would no longer be possible. “Even with global policies that significantly increase cash transfers to the poor and retired, dramatically improve income inequality and eliminate military spending, the Global Negative Growth Big Push scenario leads to an increase of 15 percentage points in global extreme poverty by 2100.”

That means the number of extremely poor people – those living on less than $1.90 per day – will not fall, as it is presently, but would rise significantly.

“The long-term effects of a lack of resource growth with a growing global population leads to an increase in global extreme poverty which surpasses 1.5 billion by 2050.

“The most dramatic impact on socioeconomic outcomes is seen in the Global Negative Growth scenario, which shows an increase in the total number of people living in poverty relative to the current path [scenario] of 2.4 billion by 2050 and 7.9 billion by 2100,” Prof Moyer states.

“Life expectancy is reduced by 4.6 per cent in 2050 and 11.7 per cent in 2100 and education years is reduced by 8.8 per cent in 2050 and 21.2 per cent by 2100” under degrowth, he adds.

On the plus side, global carbon emissions would be dramatically reduced, by 25.5 per cent in 2050 and 45 per cent by 2100.

When the Global Negative Growth scenario is coupled with mitigating socioeconomic cost interventions, the results improve slightly, the paper posits. “But the loss of available resources translates into dramatic reductions in human development even with dramatic transformations in government spending and global inequality.”

Prof Moyer says: “Radical changes driven by anthropogenic climate change may indeed warrant a radical transformation of how we live. But solutions to global problems should also not create new challenges.

“If the goal of global development is for humans to live their best lives with a broad range of capabilities while recognising natural system limitations, then minimising future human suffering at the hands of climate change should not be achieved by increasing human suffering in the short, medium and long-term,” his paper states.

Prof Moyer’s study concludes: “Balanced solutions require a multi-pronged approach that embeds markets in society, promotes investment in education, health and basic human services, develops technologies with a careful eye towards externalities, leverages and invests heavily in science and promotes governance that is inclusive, transparent and effective.”