Duncan Wilcock

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Switching from a "Consumer Driven" to a "Conservation Driven" Economy

I was contemplating the modern "Consumer-Driven" Economy the other day & had to ask myself - what would happen (and how we could switch) from an economy that is driven by Consumption, to an economy that is driven by Conservation.

I think we could perhaps term it an "Efficiency-Driven Economy" because that has a more conventional ring to it, but is almost as effective in concept. Hmm - now that I write it I do notice that they are different.

At any rate - What would a Conservation Driven Economy look like? How could we achieve it?

What do I mean by a conservation driven economy? Well, in the Western Free-Market style economy (which works well for a lot of things! ) the greater the rate of consumption, the greater the growth of the economy. We usually measure this with figures like GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for a given region or country. So in a conservation driven economy, the greater the rate of the conservation, the greater the “growth” of the economy.

If calling it "Growth" in a Conservation Driven Economy seems like a contradiction, note that I am effectively redefining the meaning of "economic growth" from an increasing quantity of something, to a more general concept of "increasing goodness" where goodness (in my book) means conservation of something worthwile conserving. (And a host of other things too, but all summarized by "increasing goodness.")

If you're starting to wonder what I am talking about with this "increasing goodness" thing, try looking at the David Suzuki Foundation's definition of "Genuine Wealth" in the first Chapter of their report "Sustainablity within a Generation" for a bit more concrete enlightenment.

I think this contemplation was inspired by my brother's bumper sticker that reads:

"Question Consumption"

Sound Advice.