Chapter 14
Consumption and ecology

We saw in chapters 7, 10, and especially 11 with operational control, how we can strengthen the taking into account of all the consequences resulting from the strategic choices made by organizations, therefore their ecological and societal responsibility in current terms. We will propose in Chapter 16 a system for financing the activity that makes this economically realistic.

Let's note in this regard that the revision of the concept of property presented in the previous chapter gives more concrete content to the sentence "the freedom of some stops where that of others begins". Indeed, the system we have described implies that property does not give right to irresponsibility. In this respect, the current system is totally flawed because we seek, conforming to Marx's logic in The Capital, to define irresponsibility in terms of law, which becomes more and more impracticable as technology advances. The emergence of the need for the precautionary principle was the key moment when this system became totally unsuitable. The legislation says that one has the right to develop a product as long as there is no serious proof of its dangerousness, that is to say that one takes into account the only product. Conversely, the precautionary principle presupposes a logic in which the level of risk that it will be reasonable to take with regard to the product in the event of uncertainty depends on the social utility of the product, but also and above all on alternatives available. If we impose a reasoned decision-making formalism on companies as we recommend, then we de facto orientate towards respecting the precautionary principle. On the other hand, within the framework of capitalism regulated by the law, one is reduced to tampering with it, because the moral demand of the citizens is the principle of precaution, but it is not compatible with the framework of the Article 4 of the Declaration of Human Rights which we mentioned in Chapter 7, and even less with the logic of heightened economic competition. The only trick that has been found that produces an effective result is the system of very high fines for fatalities in American air transport which allows to impose a certain principle of precaution indirectly, via insurance companies.

Now let’s talk about the consumption side of the ecological transition. In this regard, it is simply necessary to prohibit unsolicited advertising. Indeed, on the one hand, cognitive dissonance shows us that the human brain is not clever enough to resist the repetition of a message built to please. On the other hand, we must stop conducting a contradictory public policy where, on the one hand, we artificially give rise to needs in individuals that they did not have, and on the other, we ask them to moderate themselves to protect the planet. Given the magnitude of the moderation desired, the middle ground on this scale is just a way of pretending to be green. Search engines are enough to find what you are looking for. They simply need to be framed to ensure their neutrality.

An effective ecology finally implies a reduction in the birth rate. This presupposes accompanying measures to avoid the under-representation of girls, in particular by eliminating the notion of dowry where it lasts, and by securing the pension system via the new productivity gains linked to the second industrial revolution. and technological.

These last two points constitute neither more nor less than the bases of the decrease. Let us recall at this stage that, as we saw at the beginning of the previous chapter, in our current system, growth is necessary only because of Parkinson's law (chapter 2) which generates a gradual stagnation of the system which we do not face, and which we therefore simply seek to compensate for by growth.
What is remarkable is that as soon as we combine the organization of production seen in the second part of this book and the two measures of this chapter, the decrease falls like a ripe fruit. On the other hand, when one seeks to set up degrowth directly, the subject remains inextricable at the practical level because it supposes the emergence of a higher collective consciousness, a little as in the case of communism. In other words, the real blocking elements vis-à-vis the decrease are generalized nepotism and cognitive dissonance, but they were not visible. On the other hand, once they have been seriously taken into account, and a suitable social organization has been proposed, degrowth ceases to be a problem and becomes a foreseeable consequence of the new mode of operation.