Consumption and the economy

December 13th, 2001 § Two comments

I’ve read several reports lately claiming that if everyone on Earth used as many resources as the average American, it would take three Earths to sustain us all. This isn’t much of a surprise, but it’s a stark reminder that Americans need to cut consumption drastically.

This worries me, because consumer spending drives the American economy, and cutting consumption would mean cutting spending as well. So I’ve been wondering how Americans could reduce consumption by two-thirds without destroying the economy.

I hope that someone smarter than I am is thinking about this problem.

Two comments

  • Alex says:

    I just read a book called “The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence”. It makes some interesting comments about the consumption rates of industrial nations. The author, Gavan McCormack, advocates a zero-growth economy, which quite unusual. I recently posted a blog about it if you want to check it out.

  • Jeff says:

    Thanks for the tip, Alex. The book sounds interesting–I’ll take a look.

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