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Ending the addiction, ending consumption, Room Round Table
- When did we come to be called "consumers" instead of citizens, etc.?
- Economy is based on increasing consumption: is there a healthier model? If we take growth away, what is the metric for success?
- Include externalities in the cost of products.
- There's an assumption that with sustainability, quality of life will go down.
- Is happiness a metric?
- Time for a cultural analysis. Why do we shop?
- Economy = social system that perpetuates increasing incomes -- to buy more stuff.
- Young people - expressing selves more through social networks and are buying less stuff (to express selves) as a result.
- Access - 24/7 retail stores make it easy to buy.
- A participant from France was forced to get a credit card in order to purchase a cell phone (in order to show that she had a line of credit).
- If Nordstrom closed on Sunday in order to encourage family time, wouldn't people go next door to Macy's? Or would it shift behavioral patterns and people would just shop on Saturday?
- There used to be "blue laws" (shops closed on weekends). What about green laws (stores closed to reduce traffic and energy use)?
- Isn't growth needed because the population is growing? Not in Europe. Many countries have stable or negative growth (offset by immigration). In fact, population growth on the planet isn't at all sustainable.
- Smoking as an example. We've moved from a society of smokers to non-smokers in a couple of generations -- relatively very short time period. What caused this rapid shift? How can we translate that to sustainability?
- We're trying to answer the question "what does a sustainable economy look like?" while assuming it's income growth is desired.
- We can't change societal behavior without changing how we measure success.
- Tyranny of choice - we have to make thousands of choices all the time. Don't "green choices" add to the burden of choice?
- We're giving up things that are hard to measure (e.g., spending time with children or in nature).
- Observation: most of the conversation is about culture, consuming less, etc. How do we deal with the collapse of the local economy? One participant challenges this notion -- this change would tank the global economy but not the local.
- If values shifted, wouldn't this be a basis for an economic shift?
- Social marketing has been successful in this country (seat belts, smoking, recycling). How do we get big players on board? Al Gore's team is working hard on such campaigns.
Latest page update: made by maraguccione
, Aug 5 2009, 6:06 PM EDT
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