By questioning the origins of the inertia facing the degrowth movement, this contribution identifies property as the constitutive institution of capitalism, and property expansion as the dominant socioeconomic process leading world societies to economic path dependence, techno-institutional lock-in and eco-social impasse. Demonstrating why and how property-based economic rationality subordinates ecological and social considerations to capitalist requirements, this paper stresses both the need for an inversion in the hierarchy of social norms and the systemic opposition to such an inversion, which emanates from the capitalist/industrial expansion. The text also brings to light some disregarded processes underlying the current economic crisis, by pointing out the institutional and technological locked-in situation into which the western development path has led our societies.