A runaway bestseller in Japan and in the spirit of big idea books by Naomi Klein and Arundhati Roy, Saito delivers a bold and urgent call for a return to Marxism in order to stop climate change.
Why, in our affluent society, are so many people living in poverty, without access to health care, working multiple jobs and still unable to make ends meet, with no good prospects for the future as the planet is burning? In his international bestseller, Kohei Saito argues that while unfettered capitalism is often blamed for inequality and climate change, 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 can not be an integral part of the solution. Instead, Saito 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.