Slow Down: How Degrowth Communism Can Save the Earth – Kohei Saito (2021)

Q&A Session with Kohei Saito, Author of “Slow Down: How Degrowth Communism Can Save the Earth” on October 24, 2021



Karl Marx (1818/5/5 – 1883/3/14)


Marx’s notion of “reification” holds a pivotal role in his philosophical framework. Reification signifies the transformation of abstract concepts or human activities into tangible entities or material forms.


In Marx’s exploration of reification, he predominantly centered his attention on commodities and labor power. In capitalist societies, he observed the commodification of people’s labor and social relations, quantified as abstract values. This process gives rise to a phenomenon where entities lose their abstract and concrete nature, evolving into autonomous entities with a material existence.


Reification highlights the abstraction of human activities and relationships by societal structures and institutions, treating them as distinct individual entities. In this course, humans and their activities undergo a sense of alienation, departing from their innate, resilient nature. This resonates with Marx’s argument regarding the alienating impact of social structures and systems on human activities and relationships.


Marx’s reference to the “Realm of Necessity” and the “Realm of Freedom” is found in his work “Capital,” where he analyzes the characteristics and dynamics of capitalist society. Here is a brief explanation:

Realm of Necessity:
Characteristics: The Realm of Necessity pertains to the essentials of material production and survival. In this realm, people must produce and secure basic resources necessary for life.
Dynamics: The existence of conflict between the owners of the means of production and the working class defines the Realm of Necessity. Workers are compelled to sell their labor power and engage in work to sustain their livelihoods.


Realm of Freedom:
Characteristics: The Realm of Freedom envisions a society where the means of production are abundant, allowing individuals to fully manifest their capabilities, and the pursuit of individual development and happiness is prioritized.
Dynamics: It is anticipated to occur when the contradictions and class conflicts of capitalism are overcome, establishing a communist society. In this state, individuals can freely express their talents and contribute to the overall development of the community.


Marx believed that contemporary capitalist society is currently in the stage of the “Realm of Necessity” and predicted its progression towards the “Realm of Freedom” through technological and social advancements in the future.



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