Real sacrifice wouldn’t be required, however, because living standards are not tightly coupled to consumption rates. Much American consumption is wasteful and contributes little or nothing to quality of life. For example, per capita oil consumption in Western Europe is about half of ours, yet Western Europe’s standard of living is higher by any reasonable criterion, including life expectancy, health, infant mortality, access to medical care, financial security after retirement, vacation time, quality of public schools and support for the arts. Ask yourself whether Americans’ wasteful use of gasoline contributes positively to any of those measures.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Consumption and Sprawl...
...this NYT story discusses how our country's large consumption rates (as compared to much of the rest of the world) aren't even needed to maintain a high quality of life: