The Rising Appeal of a De-Growth Future
When Youngsters’ “Wandering Society” Desires Become Possible with Technological Advances and New Ownership Concepts
Seongwon Park, Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI)
The old Daoist idea of the “wandering society” – people who like to move about aimlessly, looking for new horizons and boundaries – has been largely lost over the years, as industriousness has come to define the modern world. But there is renewed interest in lifestyles that do not prioritize growth. In a survey of more than 2,000 South Koreans in September 2014, more than half said they are attracted to such a future. Proponents argue that to work less and have more leisure time, to conserve what exists rather than to produce more, is an appropriate response to the current global issues of energy depletion and environmental pressures. Technological advances and new concepts of ownership, as seen in the sharing economy, increasingly make this world conceivable on a large scale.