Week 7 Homo Economicus Response


Society is deeply intwined in the consumer mentality. We are literally raised with the ideas that we get stronger by expanding, growing, and using more things. Wealth can often be predicted by the amount of material things one possesses. Its to no surprise when trying to put blame on the environmental situation we are in today that capitalistic markets and consumer mentalities get a bad rap. And while this system does deserve a portion of the blame i do not believe consumerism and consumption in general are the enemy. The issue is more specific than that, particularly blind consumerism and the consumption of non-sustainable goods. Capitalism drives us to become bigger and more stronger but its not the drive itself that is to blame as much as the perception of what it means to get there. Instead of thinking that being environmentally friendly is anti-capitalistic there needs to be a change in the way we, as an economic market, think. We need to think in a way in which the environment not only becomes a part of the system but an asset that is economically important to protect.  Ideas like collaborative consumption can help to mediate these issues but they don’t truly solve the problem. Borrowing goods and sharing can help us to consume less but consumption is still happening and still in a destructive way, just to a lesser extent.  Poor nations don’t need to consume less they just need to consume smarter, just like developed countries should. We wont get rid of the problem with consumption until we get rid of the concept of waste. Once we do growth will be limited only by creativity.


One response »

  1. Consumer smarter, well said. I tackled this idea in my blog as well and I agree, developing nations need to stop following in our footsteps as far as “development” goes and instead sit back and take a minute to examine the flaws of our existing system. With any luck and a blank slate, the possibility to skip over many of our careless errors leaves room for sustainable growth.

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