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Is the consumer lifestyle sustainable?

WinkOsmosis

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Sep 18, 2002
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/3382495.stm

There is a long list of reader comments below the article. READ THEM to get a better idea of the issue that is being discussed.


More people than ever before have access to a consumer lifestyle, but it doesn't necessarily make them happy .

According to the Worldwatch Institute's State Of The World 2004 report, about 1.7 billion people have entered "the consumer class", adopting the diets and lifestyles formerly the preserve of North America, Europe and Japan.

But the report also says that obesity, time pressures and debt have grown considerably, reducing the quality of life for many people.

The environment has also been hit with the loss of forests and wetlands, over-fishing, and transport pollution.

Can the earth sustain the consumer lifestyle? Do we consume too much? Should more green taxes be introduced? Are you happy as a consumer?

Your comments:
No, this is not news or politics. This issue is of primary importance to everyone living in this world.
 

Ornery

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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You've GOT to be kidding! Guess we ought to forego indoor plumbing, electric lights and refrigeration as well. Look how much money and resources those things consume!


Never mind how many jobs are created by these disposable commodities. Go ask the Afghanistani's if they wouldn't be willing to trade their lifestyle for ours.
 

SSibalNom

Golden Member
Aug 13, 2003
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'consumer lifestyle' as vague as it is, is the greatest thing to ever happen, you don't HAVE to buy anything, if you're tricked into buying it, it's either your fault, or in your 'consumer lifestyle' country there is gonna be a court where you can sue em, and 1.7 billion people in 'consumer lifestyle' = 1.7b people who aren't starving
 

WinkOsmosis

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Sep 18, 2002
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Originally posted by: Ornery
You've GOT to be kidding! Guess we ought to forego indoor plumbing, electric lights and refrigeration as well. Look how much money and resources those things consume!


Never mind how many jobs are created by these disposable commodities. Go ask the Afghanistani's if they wouldn't be willing to trade their lifestyle for ours.
Give me a break. Can you really not distinguish between basic conveniences and wasteful extravagance? Of course jobs are created.. but it's funny how people got along fine before we had all this consumerism. Maybe we should work on reducing the number of people rather than increasing the number of jobs, which int he end leads to more consumption and waste, and more people, which requires more jobs to be created.

Ask you grandparents how they lived. Then ask them if they were happy. Then ask yourself if you are happy.
 

Ornery

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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The ONLY reason most everything you buy is so cheap, is because it's made in mass quantities. Take that away, and you'll be paying Bentley prices for Buicks! You were saying...
 

WinkOsmosis

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Sep 18, 2002
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Originally posted by: Ornery
The ONLY reason most everything you buy is so cheap, is because it's made in mass quantities. Take that away, and you'll be paying Bentley prices for Buicks! You were saying...
If Buicks cost Bentley prices, they won't sell like Buicks, will they? Sounds good to me. Would it kill you, or me, to go without the excess we take for granted, if it means conservaing resouces, the environment, and improving quality of life for the whole human race? Would it kill us if food were too expensive for us to gorge ourselves to the point where obesity is considered an epidemic? Would it kill us to not buy new computers every year? Like I said... how much worse off were people when Buicks did cost Bentley prices?
 

Ornery

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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Go back 100 years and take a look around. How do you like it? The mass production and consumption is a synergy that got us where we are. Everything is cheap and disposable. Only 100 years ago, people spent the bulk of their day doing chores. Canning food, washing clothes in wringer washers and traveling buy horse and buggy. Gee, sounds great!
 

WinkOsmosis

Banned
Sep 18, 2002
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Originally posted by: Ornery
Go back 100 years and take a look around. How do you like it? The mass production and consumption is a synergy that got us where we are. Everything is cheap and disposable. Only 100 years ago, people spent the bulk of their day doing chores. Canning food, washing clothes in wringer washers and traveling buy horse and buggy. Gee, sounds great!
It certainly sounds better than the way most of the world lives to feed our consumer whorism. Don't like 100 years ago? How about 50 or 60 years ago? How about 500 years ago? 5000 years ago? This might be the best time for us, but not for everyone. And whether it's the best for us is subjective in any case. I'm not even saying we should revert to a previous state of affairs.. We need to progress, and that means scaling back our way of life. It's great that we can do what we can do. This is a necessary stage in human development perhaps. Now let's keep moving and stop expanding and consuming.
 

Ornery

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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Why? We pretty much have our choice of how to live our lives. Bunked up with extended family in a two room apartment, all the way up to a Bill Gates estate, and everything in between.

Why is it that 128MB of DDR PC-2700 333MHz is $22.00, yet 128MB of PC100 SDRAM is $31.00? If everybody quits buying stuff, prices for everything will go up, and jobs will go away. Your scheme makes NO sense to me!
 

Balt

Lifer
Mar 12, 2000
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The consumer lifestyle is driven by the free market economy, and quite frankly it's the only system that works.

So yes, it's sustainable until we all kill each other off. :p
 

WinkOsmosis

Banned
Sep 18, 2002
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Originally posted by: Balt
The consumer lifestyle is driven by the free market economy, and quite frankly it's the only system that works.

So yes, it's sustainable until we all kill each other off. :p
Kill each other or run out of resouces, which will be accelerated by the massive population growth. It will lead to doom!
 

Squisher

Lifer
Aug 17, 2000
21,207
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Can someone define "excess" in terms of lifestyle?




I betcha that those hunter/gatherers thought those uppity Sumerians were excessive.



 

dolph

Diamond Member
Jan 18, 2001
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as i see it, the problem is is that if someone can afford something, there's nothing to stop them from buying it. we believe that our money is better off buying a fancier car or a faster computer or a bigger diamond rather than putting that money towards oh, i don't know, cancer research or renewable energy sources.
 

WinkOsmosis

Banned
Sep 18, 2002
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Originally posted by: Squisher
Can someone define "excess" in terms of lifestyle?




I betcha that those hunter/gatherers thought those uppity Sumerians were excessive.
Excess is subjective of course. I think, before buying something, you should ask yourself first if you need it. Of course it's unreasonable to only live with the bare necessities, so if you don't actually need something, ask yourself how much use you will get from it, and whether it will make you happy. Remember when you were a kid and you had to ask your parents for everything? They determined what we needed, and what we could do without. Without our mothers to control our desire, our affluent society buys whatever it wants now. Speaking of your mother, remember what she used to say?.. There are children starving in Africa.
 

PunDogg

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2002
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not on a large scale, the Earth can't take too much of the consumer liftestyle

Dogg
 

WinkOsmosis

Banned
Sep 18, 2002
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Originally posted by: Ornery
See if you can get Hillary to tell her constituants to STOP BREEDING! I'm all for State Sterilization!
I support state sterilization 100%. Unfortunately it will never happen. It would be quite radical, and beneficial, if the entire human population had to undergo sterilization after three children (this would create a ceiling of 2 children, since people will tend to not want to be sterilized, unless they really want a 3rd child).
 

WinkOsmosis

Banned
Sep 18, 2002
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Originally posted by: Ornery
Why? We pretty much have our choice of how to live our lives. Bunked up with extended family in a two room apartment, all the way up to a Bill Gates estate, and everything in between.

Why is it that 128MB of DDR PC-2700 333MHz is $22.00, yet 128MB of PC100 SDRAM is $31.00? If everybody quits buying stuff, prices for everything will go up, and jobs will go away. Your scheme makes NO sense to me!
Jobs don't have to go away. Wages can go down, and it will be fine because there will be less buying to do. The ideal solution is a large scale scaling down. If only everyone were good hearted.

Edit: You ram prices don't apply to everything. The PC100 is more expensive because it isn't made anymore, and has been replaced by the PC2700, which is cheaper because it's actually produced now. If the PC100 is still beingproduced, well, it's still been replaced by the newer RAM.
 

Ornery

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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You're catching on. If there is nobody, or fewer people buying, the cost goes up. The lower the quantity produced, the higher the cost of each unit. You'd need to work more hours and earn higher wages to afford things, yet jobs would dry up, because less would need to be produced. It's a miserable, downward spiral...
 

WinkOsmosis

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Sep 18, 2002
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Originally posted by: Ornery
You're catching on. If there is nobody, or fewer people buying, the cost goes up. The lower the quantity produced, the higher the cost of each unit. You'd need to work more hours and earn higher wages to afford things, yet jobs would dry up, because less would need to be produced. It's a miserable, downward spiral...
I've been thinking about that. It doesn't have be a downward spiral if changes are gradual and caused by cultural changes and changes in worldwide public opinion rather than artificial means such as government regulation.
 

Ornery

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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In the 30 years I've been driving, I've NEVER purchased a new vehicle. Bought our one and only house when it was already 40 years old. I depend on all these other "mass consumers" to slough off their belongings, so I can buy them cheap. I'm WAY ahead of you!
 

WinkOsmosis

Banned
Sep 18, 2002
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Originally posted by: Ornery
In the 30 years I've been driving, I've NEVER purchased a new vehicle. Bought our one and only house when it was already 40 years old. I depend on all these other "mass consumers" to slough off their belongings, so I can buy them cheap. I'm WAY ahead of you!
Reduce, reuse, recycle.

My parents had 6 kids, but they never bought a new vehicle.. Mainly because new cars are very expensive in Trinidad & Tobago. Well, there's an example of higher relative cost encouraging re-use.
 

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