Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto (Paperback)

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Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto By KOHEI SAITO, Brian Bergstrom (Translated by) Cover Image
By KOHEI SAITO, Brian Bergstrom (Translated by)
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"[A] well-reasoned and eye-opening treatise. . . . [Kōhei Saitō makes] a provocative and visionary proposal."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A cogently structured anti-capitalist approach to the climate crisis."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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 his international bestseller, Kōhei 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. In practical terms, he argues for:

  • the end of mass production and mass consumption
  • decarbonization through shorter working hours
  • the prioritization of essential labor over corporate profits

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.

About the Author

Kōhei Saitō 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 Deutscher Memorial Prize, the most prestigious academic award for Marxian studies, making Saitō 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 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.

Praise For…

"If you want to get a jump on the book everyone will be talking about this winter, you should preorder Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto now."
Jeva Lange, Heatmap News

"Saitō’s proposal is simple, salient, and adapts Marx for the modern day."
The Millions

"Looking to start out the year with some big ideas? Look no further."
Tobias Carroll, InsideHook

"[A] well-reasoned and eye-opening treatise . . . [Kohei Saito makes] a provocative and visionary proposal."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Saito’s clarity of thought, plethora of evidence, and conversational, gentle, yet urgent tone—even when describing the most alarming aspects of the climate crisis—are sure to win over open-minded readers who understand the dire nature of our global situation and that 'green capitalism is a myth.' A cogently structured anti-capitalist approach to the climate crisis."
—Kirkus (starred review)

"Achieving degrowth communism, [Saito] believes, is less about personal choices and more about changing overarching political and economic structures. Marxism, he argues, offers a viable model for reorienting society around the maximization of public goods as opposed to the endless pursuit and concentration of wealth."
—Ben Dooley & Hisako Ueno, The New York Times

"This necessary and energizing 21st Century manifesto is a truth mirror inviting us to see ourselves and our place in the metastatic growth engine that is our current economic system. Saito is a well-read soothsayer -- one who loves this world, who has done his homework, and who is eager to share a viable way forward." 
John Vaillant, bestselling author of Fire Weather, The Tiger and The Golden Spruce

"Kohei Saito is one of the most important scholars in the world. In Slow Down, he delivers a Karl Marx for the climate crisis and a vision of communism for the 21st century. No work could be more vital today." 
—Malcolm Harris, bestselling author of Palo Alto

"Slow Down has an almost magic ability to formulate complex thoughts in clear language, as well as to combine strict conceptual thinking with passionate personal engagement. Saito's book is not just for anyone interested in ecology or in the problems of today's global capitalism, it is simply indispensable for those of us who want to SURVIVE—in short, to all of us."
—Slavoj Žižek, author of Violence and The Sublime Object of Ideology

"Saitō unites Marxism with ecology and lights a path out of our present crisis. A powerful book from one of the most compelling young thinkers of our time."
—Jason Hickel, author of Less is More
Product Details
ISBN: 9781662602726
Publisher: Astra House
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English