Geopolitics and Degrowth
February 25, 2022
The Geopolitics of Degrowth holds that real power flows not from waste, centralization and coercion
but from decentralization, relocalization and the free flow of value.
Conventional geopolitics is all about more: more military power, more sanctions, more coercion, more influence.
The Geopolitics of Degrowth is all about the the power of less: wasting less, consuming less, needing less from other nations, reducing dependence on rivals, reducing coercion and centralized over-reach.
Conventional geopolitics concentrates wealth and political power in a giant dam on the biggest river. Centralized control of massed power is considered the acme of geopolitical strength. Everyone is coerced into funding and relying on the dam.
But this has it backwards: when the centralized dam bursts, the nation is in ruins. This vulnerability isn't power, it's weakness. The Degrowth model of strength is to make local use of every rivulet, stream and tributary, carefully shepherding its sustainability and use.
Unbeknownst to the mainstream, the world has entered an era of scarcity. The current abundance is a temporary flush of the last of the cheap-to-extract resources. Once this illusory abundance has been consumed, all that's left is hard-to-extract, costly resources.
In an era of scarcity, power flows not from coercion but from needing less by consuming less by eliminating the tremendous waste and friction that consumes resources, capital and time without generating any positive returns.
The conventional mindset is deadset on maintaining this waste and friction, as if it was positive rather than negative. By focusing on "growth" in GDP, our system optimizes waste, fraud, friction and a throwaway mentality. The reality that 40% of everything we consume is wasted is not even recognized. In the conventional mindset, the goal is to waste more by accelerating The Landfill Economy of buying some product that fails or is obsoleted even faster than the previous generation.
Consider food, which is rising in price. Yet we continue to throw out a staggering percentage of food at every stage of production, shipping and consumption. This is literally insane: by optimizing our economy for waste is growth, we're actually incentivizing waste.
The goal of conventional geopolitics is to stripmine the planet to support our misguided desire to continue wasting 40% of everything we touch. The goal of the Geopolitics of Degrowth is to eliminate the 40% waste and friction which then reduces our dependence on other nations and our need to coerce them to supply more resources for us to squander.
The goal of conventional geopolitics is to rely ever more heavily on centralized power and coercion. In this mindset, power flows from maintaining a waste is growth economy and coercing the rest of the world to supply us with resources we can then squander.
The Geopolitics of Degrowth holds that real power flows not from waste, centralization and coercion but from decentralization, relocalization and the free flow of value down 10,000 streams rather than damming up all the waste, capital and power in one centralized dam that destroys all when it decays and collapses.
The Geopolitics of Degrowth is the subject of my new book Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States
My new book is now available at a 10% discount this month: Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $8.95, print $20)
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Charles Hugh Smith on Why Many are Resigning From Their Jobs (35 minutes, with Richard Bonugli)
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