Ana Abelenda / AWID

Challenging the economic growth model

A de-growth model proposes a shift towards a sustainable level of production and consumption.

Challenging the economic growth model


Contesting the premise that a country’s economy must always ‘grow or die’, de-growth propositions come to debunk the centrality of growth measured by increase in Gross domestic product (GDP).


A de-growth model proposes a shift towards a lower and sustainable level of production and consumption. In essence, shrinking the economic system to leave more space for human cooperation and ecosystems.

The proposal includes

  • Downsizing resource-, energy- and emission-intensive superfluous production, particularly in the North (e.g. the automotive and military industries)
  • Directing investments instead into the care sector, social infrastructure and environmental restoration

Feminist perspective

Feminist perspectives within de-growth theory and practice argue that it also needs to redefine and revalidate unpaid and paid, care and market labour to overcome traditional gender stereotypes as well as the prevailing wage gaps and income inequalities that devalue care work.

Learn more about this proposition

  • In “The Future WE Want: Occupy development” Christa Wichterich argues that in order to break up the hegemonic logic of unfettered growth and quick returns on investment, three cornerstones of another development paradigm must combine: care, commons and sufficiency in production and consumption.
  • Equitable, Ecological Degrowth: Feminist Contributions by Patricia Perkins suggests developing effective alternative indicators of well-being, including social and economic equity and work-time data, to demonstrate the importance of unpaid work and services for the economy and provide a mechanism for giving credit to those responsible.

Part of our series of

  Feminist Propositions for a Just Economy