Runaway consumption

State of the World 2004 - Worldwatch Institute

Published: Sunday 15 February 2004

State of the World 2004 Worldwatch Institute

Consumers the world over are growing at such a rate that Earth's natural systems may be further undermined, says a report released on January 8, 2004. "Consumption seems to have the character of a runaway trend," says the State of the World 2004, by the us-based environmental group Worldwatch Institute. "It is time we re-think the way we consume." The 245-page report suggests that us-style consumerism has spread not only to the industrialised world but also penetrated much of the developing world. In China alone, 2,400 lakh people have joined the ranks of the "consumer class", accounting for about 1.7 per cent of the estimated 17,000 lakh people worldwide who have adopted the diets, transportation systems and lifestyles pioneered by the us. By contrast, some 28,000 lakh people live on less than two us dollars a day, while 11,000 lakh of them lack access to safe drinking water.

Some 1,220 lakh Indians are also living an essentially western lifestyle -- more than the roughly 1,210 lakh Japanese, 760 lakh Germans, 610 lakh Russians, 580 lakh Brazilians and 530 lakh French people who also enjoy the fruits of consumer society, the report said.

State of the World 2004 defines membership in 'the consumer society' as people with annual incomes greater than 7,000 dollars of purchasing power parity, or roughly equivalent to the official poverty line in the European Union. Members, says the report, typically use television, telephones and the Internet, "along with the culture and ideas that these products transmit".

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.