With a population that has skyrocketed over the past 50 years and resources to sustain humanities basic needs becoming farer and fewer between, there is a pressing need to reexamine and restructure our predominant social and economic ways. There is without a doubt a need to reduce consumption within the first world and refocus our efforts into sustainable production practices, but what about the developing world that is still on its way to acquiring basic needs and comforts?
As discussed in The Ends and the Means of Development, a strong case is made for the establishment and provision of basic needs such as healthcare and education before focusing on economic growth in developing nations. This, I feel, offers an ideal alternative to the presumed need for growing market economies, GDP, and increased consumption to achieve a healthy and stable country which provides its citizens with a comfortable standard of living. The US in its period of great growth and expansion adopted a mindset and practice of mass consumption promoted by the government and popular media. Recognizing the shortcomings and delirious effects of this approach, nations on their way to ‘prosperity’ have the potential to attain a healthy lifestyle in new, sustainable ways.
In addition to first providing for basic needs, green consumption alongside with collaborative consumption, as elaborated by Rosling and Botsman, also offer a way in which the population can attain and enjoy material goods without further environmental degradation and extensive resource depletion.