De-Growth…Now — a Guest Blog

If you believe that unlimited economic growth is sustainable on a planet that has limited resources you are either an idiot – or an economist (writes guest blogger, Tony Smith).

De-Growth is a cause gaining support in France

More and more people are beginning to wake up from a long consumerist nightmare. As the nuclear disaster was taking place in Japan, queues of people were waiting for the shops to open in order to snap up the latest Apple gadget. In France, the anti-advertising movement is trying to show the way forward to a future free of the consumerism doctrine that, in turn, is one of the drivers behind the need for nuclear power.

The advertising industry understood early on that in order to keep selling, the customer must be kept in a state of permanent frustration. Anyone who still thinks that the multi-billion euro industry that promotes over-consumption is benign, amusing and creative is seriously misleading themselves. In reality, the ad- men (and women) have foisted on Western society an absurd and dangerous consumerist trend that has taught us to buy to feel good or to impress others. This culture of consumerism has led to a pillage of the world’s finite resources. Twenty percent of the planet’s population — the richest countries — consume 80% of its resources.

This consumerist culture is tragic. A considerable portion of the earth’s resources are at risk of depletion by 2050.

Indeed, the gradual extinction of certain species and aspects of nature as a whole, can be attributed directly to the dogma of economic growth propped up by the consumerist society.

Many people in France are becoming increasingly aware of the threats to humanity that the western way of life is causing and directing their anger at the (highly) visible face of its perpetrators – outdoor billboard advertising.

Whilst the Paysages de France association, dedicated to removing illegal outdoor advertising has been around since 1992 , and the magazine Casseurs de Pub — similar to the Canadian campaign mag Ad busters — since 1999, the French anti-advertising movement really kicked off in 2003 with a massive civil disobedience campaign against billboarding in the Paris Metro. In November 2005, a national billboard protest appeal was launched by Les Déboulonneurs , a group formed from the remnants of the Metro protestors who were still willing to risk heavy fines and police repression. There are now a dozen French towns that regularly organise billboard cover-up days and, although a national law currently being drafted is likely to be heavily watered down after heavy lobbying from the billboarders pressure group, there are hundreds of towns currently establishing local by laws (Règlement Local de Publicité) to limit the damage to town entrances that the unsightly clusters of giant hoardings represent.

France is the only country in the world that has a monthly de – growth newspaper La Décroissance which provides an intellectual base to the arguments used by the French anti -advertising movement.

– Tony Smith is SW France regional organiser and national administrator for Paysages de France

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One Response to De-Growth…Now — a Guest Blog

  1. Pingback: The Flat Pack Washing Machine The French Designer Claims Will Last a Lifetime | FrenchNewsOnline

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