What do we mean by descrecimiento?

Descrecimiento is the new word or neologism which was adopted unanimously in the First Colloquium La Apuesta por el Descrecimiento, held in 2007 in the city of Mexico, to translate the French slogan décroissance, used by the original movement born in 2003 after the publication of Serge Latouche's article in Le Monde Diplomatique (Pour une societé de decroissance). It was quickly translated in other European countries as decrecimiento (Spain) decrescita (Italy), postwachstum (Germany) and as degrowth in English. The idea behind descrecimiento has been to denote the will to reduce consumption and the ambitions of power and money, and to eliminate the abstract common connotation of this word in scientific language. The word descrecimiento does not exist so far in conventional dictionaries; however, it has been included in the vocabulary of Degrowth published in Europe a couple of years ago.

Descrecimiento implies a vision of the world that flatly rejects techniques and investments that destroy the biological and cultural diversity of the territory, which cause cancers and other serious alterations to human health, and endanger the existence of the humanity, which induce the acceleration of natural disasters: drought, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, heat waves, which create oil wars or water wars, pandemics and biogenetic catastrophes. It involves a challenge to the modern way of life founded on the use of devastating modern techniques, unlimited economic growth and the production of illusions of progress, development and modernity.

Above all, it implies the will of slashing, individually and collectively, the use of transportation, pumping, generation of electricity, education and health services, provided by the State and the Market, as well as the production and consumption of industrial products. It involves a practice that recognizes the political, economic, social, cultural and ecological conditions of the countries of the Global South. It involves the rejection of growth for the sake of growth that does not take into account the nature of the production.

Descrecimiento is also of a policy proposal for countries of the Global South: lines of action that are applicable in developed countries are not necessarily applicable in the countries of the South. The first Conference North-South of Degrowth-Descrecimiento, Mexico 2018 aims to open a major debate on convergences and differences in the proposals of the North and the ones of the South.

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