Response to Prompt 1, Week 10: Homo Economicus

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Reducing consumption is a continuous obstacle in both developed and developing nations, but for different reasons. While developed nations are afraid to move backwards in living standards by reducing consumption, developing nations are simply worried about surviving if they must reduce consumption. The real question we must ask ourselves as members of developed nations is, “do we really need something new or are we satisfied?”

The problem, however, still remains because the idea of being “satisfied” is different for every person. Nevertheless, a society of collaborative consumption, which consists of sharing products, can help reduce consumerism as well as build community in society. For instance, giving a leather jacket to someone on a night they would like to wear it would eliminate the need for two leather jackets for those individuals, reducing the production of leather, which leads to environmental degradation. This sharing would lead to a feeling of satisfaction combined with caring for the environment and its people. Collaborative consumption is therefore an effective tool in developed nations because it reduces consumption and changes people’s perception of their actions toward the environment and other individuals.

It is impossible to stabilize population in developing countries through the reduction of consumption because their living standards are already below a healthy level of wellbeing. In many developing nations, individuals are currently consuming fewer than two dollars a day. An effective way of stabilize population in developing nations would be to increase “green” consumption, including an efficient use of energy, reusing, and recycling. “Green” consumption would be cost-effective, since fewer products will be bought and less energy will be spent, as well as healthier since “green” products (such as organic foods) have been proven to provide health benefits.

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One response »

  1. I like the part of your post about the leather jacket as an example of collaborative consumption because it reminded me of all the times my roommate has borrowed my leather jacket and the fact that we have shared clothes often. Seaton mentioned in class that his wife and other women often swap clothes with each other to experience the feeling of getting something “new,” sans a trip to the mall. I think the rise in websites for renting or swapping clothes are giving women the opportunity to lead the way for increased collaborative consumption since it brings together women who are fashion-conscious, budget-conscious, and/or environmentally conscious, which should encompass just about every woman. I think if collaborative consumption through swapping clothes continues to catch on for women, it could lead to a promising future of decreased consumption and a greater awareness for sustainability.

    Source: https://www.chicagoideas.com/videos/288

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