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Attempt to share freely and open ideas, memos, and expanded notes

Attempt to share freely and open ideas, memos, and expanded notes

Degrowth as Resistance, Despite Baudrillard’s Networking of Fetishism

Koch & Elmore (2006) argue that contrary to popular opinion Baudrillard’s later work did not abandon Marxist theory. He elaborated on it. Baudrillard expanded on the “macro-molecular code” of Marxist thought (see 561). Baudrillard showed that the sign and the signifier, the code and representation, didn’t puff out Marx’s ideas with the failure of the demise of capitalism. In fact, consumer capitalism, as reality, particularly in the United States, only proved the Marxist tract of thought. Marx’s ideas were expanded to an age of DNA, network digitalization, and finally to the compulsive – fetishistic – reality of the United States.

Now, where Koch and Elmore’s 2006 paper becomes short-sighted is that they seem to agree with Baudrillard that by this point nothing can be done. The United States exists in this type of hyper-reality that has placated the sign of human rights and equality with the transmuting code of consumerism for its own sake. Reality becomes self-referential. However, it is degrowth that offers an escape from this self-referential reality. The disregarding of the constant quest of material goods. The sustainability of all things. Yes, but not only, larger scale climate threats, also the finer details that can be resourced within one’s own community. Degrowth, I believe, starts with the community.

From the self, and the neighboring self, what I would even call a new ontological re-vision of how Emmanuel Levinas saw becoming the Other, we can grow a new systematic symphony program that enhances self-determination, individualism, all the things capitalism appropriates, and still foster human rights and equity in the path of beyond mere subsentence living. At this stage, today, degrowth is not there. It is not as organized as it should be. It is not as well-envisioned, even by its so-called trumpeters. There is the possibility that the fish boat run-off of Baudrillard’s fetishistic-reality prevents mass coordination and small scale social-oriented vision that proper degrowth demands. But we must give it a chance.   

© Richard J Tilley. All Rights Reserved.