Born: 12 January 1940
Serge Latouche is a french Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Paris-Sud. He holds degrees in Political Sciences, in Philosophy and in Economics. He is a specialist in North-South economic and cultural relations and in the Epistemology of Social Sciences .
Latouche has developed a critical theory towards economic orthodoxy. He has denounced economist, utilitarianism in social sciences, consumer society and the notion of sustainable development. He particularly criticizes the notions of economic efficiency and economic rationalism.
Latouche is one of the great thinkers and most renowned partisans of the de-growth theory, a political, economic and social movement based on ecological economics and anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist ideas. The de-growth theory is also considered an essential economic strategy responding to the limits-to-growth dilemma.
The movement arose from concerns over the perceived consequences of the productivism and consumerism associated with industrial societies (whether capitalist or socialist). This includes the reduced availability of energy sources, the declining quality of the environment (global warming, pollution, threats to biodiversity) and the decline in the health of flora and fauna upon which humans depend. This movement also concerns over the rise of negative societal side-effects (unsustainable development, poorer human health, poverty), as well as the ever-expanding use of resources by first-world countries to satisfy lifestyles that consume more food and energy, and produce greater waste, at the expense of the third world.
De-growth thinkers and activists such as Serge Latouche advocate for the downscaling of production and consumption—the contraction of economies—arguing that over consumption lies at the root of long term environmental issues and social inequalities.