Consumption: Destructive & Transformative From quantitative to qualitative development: Consumption & the Purpose of Production
The New Significance of Consumption I: Avoiding Redistribution & Needs-based Development Permanent War Economy / Cold War The Suburb Economy: Oil / Autos / Subdivisions Creation of “Effective Demand” ; Increasing role of Debtas money; Institutionalization of “work-and-spend” cycle
The New Significance of Consumption II: Current trends in mainstream enviro regulation • 60s-70s: end of pipe & point-source pollution • mid-80s on: eco-efficiency & pollution prevention • mid 90s on: consumption patterns & product design:
Limits vs. Transformation The Oil / Suburb / Debt / Mass Consumption economy created a structure of development. A green economy must create a logical structure of its own.
Consumption in a Green Economy • Human dimension: from products to services: serving need; resources as means to the end. • struggle to define “need” • Resource dimension: Cycles in closed loops: the “Lake Economy” / biomimicry • efficiency / harmony / stewardship
Questions • can substantial human self-development take place without dematerialization? • can major conservation/recycling take place without human development? • can Capitalism (a system where money is the end-goal) become a form of Qualitative Development? • the potential and/or limits of “natural capitalism” • a question of not just the structure but the driving forces of economic life.
Democracy & Consumption: What’s the relationship? • Who decides what human need is? • Knowledge-based development & participation: • “eyes to acres” relationship in green production. • Mass collaboration & Peer production in the electronic Commons • Info economy & direct democracy • Industrialism & representative democracy • the “stakeholder corporation”
Knowledge & Consumption • Info-intensity and product/process design • Deskilling of the Consumer: role of eco-literarcy • Market Transformation & Collective Consumerism • Distributed Regulation: finance, certification, scale, etc. • Distributed Production: food, energy, building, craft, preventive health care, etc.
Knowledge in a Postindustrial Economy • information about products, processes & production • knowledge as gratification / fulfillment • money as information: “…an information system for the deployment of human and natural energies.” • new forms of work & relationship: • Prosumption: home & community-based production. • LFP: value-brokers • Interra Project: integrated mode of exchange & valuation
Self-Development & Consumption • evolutionary trends toward individuation • class power & dependence • violence & Wholeness • Culture-based development & Individuation • ‘Neo-Primitive’ Development: Global Village, Electronic Commons, Bioregionalism, Field Consciousness • culture-based production & Gift relationships
Dematerialization Strategies • limits of private consumerism • EPR: ecodesign and closing loops transformative consumerism • sharing • information: needed to redefine value. • ESCO model of material wealth creation • The transformation of Retail • Media, Education and Conservation • Green Procurement & market creation • Finance & Regulation
Retailing • New “Commanding Heights” of capitalism: Wal-Mart and cost-cutting business model. • reflects importance of end-use • localization strategies: key to closing loops • Retailers as conservation utilities? • -as learning centres? • -as used materials depots?
Regenerative or Transformative Consumerism • Goes beyond protectionism to ecological alternatives • Decreases material consumption, makes it more cyclical • Overcomes both the isolation and the passivity of the individual consumer, through sharing and “prosumption”. • Regenerates humans, community & ecosystems. Encourages social justice, quality of work life and the integrity of natural systems. • Effects ripple • upstream to affect extraction & processing, and • downstream to affect disposal.