Serge Latouche

Serge Latouche is an influential and iconoclastic French economist who has been a leading figure in the development of ‘degrowth theory’. Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Paris-Sud, his thought straddles the divide between sociology, philosophy, political theory and economics. The foundation of his intellectual project is a rigorous critique of the utilitarian and economistic assumptions of contemporary Western thought, both of the Left and of the Right. He argues that this hegemonic faith in utility, rationalism and ‘efficiency’ underpins our obsession with economic growth for its own sake, an orthodoxy which threatens untold environmental destruction and social catastrophe unless we can come to terms with finitude and re-organize our society in such a way as to produce and consume less and move beyond our facile belief in material progress. These themes are at the heart of his important Polity books Farewell to Growth and The Westernization of the World.