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Chapter 7: An Unsustainable All-Consuming World

An Unsustainable All-Consuming World
An unsustainable all-consuming world

Economic growth has meant raised levels of productivity and has made possible the consumer lifestyles enjoyed by a global consumer class of around 2 billion people. Over the course of the twentieth century global economic output grew 18-fold and in the period 1950–2005 the total value of all goods and services produced around the world, based on purchasing power parity, increased from US$7 trillion to US$61 trillion (Gardner and Prugh, 2008: 8; see also Mygatt, 2006). Consumer expenditure on goods and services by private households increased four-fold in the period 1960–2000 rising from US$4.8 trillion to US$20 trillion (Gardner et al., 2004: 5). However, the consumer way of life, which has become second nature to those who participate ...