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April 20 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Join us for a hybrid book talk on Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto, with author Kōhei Saitō and local organizers and scholars. In it, Saitō asks: Why, in our affluent society, do so many people live in poverty, without access to health care, working multiple jobs and are nevertheless unable to make ends meet, with no future prospects, while the planet is burning?

In this international bestseller, Saitō argues that while unfettered capitalism is often blamed for inequality and climate change, subsequent calls for “sustainable growth” and a “Green New Deal” are a dangerous compromise. Capitalism creates artificial scarcity by pursuing profit based on the value of products rather than their usefulness and by putting perpetual growth above all else. It is therefore impossible to reverse climate change in a capitalist society—more: the system that caused the problem in the first place cannot be an integral part of the solution.

Instead, Saitō advocates for degrowth and deceleration, which he conceives as the slowing of economic activity through the democratic reform of labor and production. By returning to a system of social ownership, he argues, we can restore abundance and focus on those activities that are essential for human life, effectively reversing climate change and saving the planet.

Watch the livestream HERE.


Kohei Saito is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Tokyo. He received his PhD in philosophy from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in 2016. He was awarded the 2018 Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize, the most prestigious academic award for Marxian studies, making Saito its youngest recipient. In 2020 the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science awarded him the highly prestigious JSPS prize, awarded to the top 25 scholars (only a few in humanities and social sciences) in the entire country under the age of 45. In 2021, Slow Down received the “Best Asian Books of the Year” prize from the Asia Book Awards.

Kate Aronoff is a staff writer at The New Republic. She is the author of Overheated (Bold Type Press), co-author of A Planet To Win: Why We Need A Green New Deal (Verso), and the co-editor of We Own The Future: Democratic Socialism, American Style (The New Press).

Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro is a Professor at the Geography and Environmental Studies Department of SUNY New Paltz. He is senior editor for the journals Capitalism Nature Socialism and Human Geography. He is the author of Socialist States and the Environment: Lessons for Ecosocialist Futures (Pluto).

Erica Jung is a member of DegrowNYC, a group of organizers of the Global South based in occupied Lenapehoking who view degrowth as a revolutionary process & a form of ecological reparations.

Daniel Wortel-London is a historian of 20th century economic thought, public policy, and urban politics. A graduate of New York University’s History Ph.D program, his writing has been featured in the Journal of Urban History, the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the Journal of Tourism History, the Harvard Business History Review, and the Journal of Social History. His book, The Menace of Prosperity: Private Growth, Public Costs, and the Struggle for Economic Development in New York City, will be published by University of Chicago Press. He is a policy specialist at the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE).




April 20
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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