Growth Criticism and Reduced Working Hours by Heinz-J. Bontrup

Today’s growth critics speak of the necessity of a post-growth, a “renunciation society” or at least of a “green” capitalist model. Meanwhile, 1.6 earths would be needed because humanity exploits natural resources faster than the earth can generate them (cf. recent accounts of Earth Overshoot Day).

Growth does not automatically mean more prosperity and happiness for people. The questions to be answered include a) what cannot grow anymore and b) who should decide under the conditions of the “capitalist wolf law,” competition, what should still grow?

Redistribution from top to bottom must be joined with a collective reduction of working hours and growth that is oriented socially and ecologically. However, both cannot be realized with a liberalized market under one-sided profit orientations. Only suboptimal social results are possible without state regulated interventions in the markets.

A political transformation process is necessary… The British economist John Maynard Keynes (in 1936) dreamt of a time when his grandchildren would only face a 15-hour work week.

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