The Ecology of Consumption

The Ecology of Consumption: A Critique of Economic Malthusianism,” [PDF], (coauthored with Brett Clark, Foster listed first), Polygraph: An International Journal of Culture and Politics, no. 22 (2010), pp. 113-32.

Environmentalists, especially in wealthy countries, have often approached the question of environmental sustainability by stressing population and technology, while deemphasizing the middle term in the well-known IPAT (environmental Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology) formula. The reasons for this are not difficult to see. Within capitalist society, there has always been a tendency to blame anything but the economic system itself for ecological overshoot. Yet if the developing ecological crisis has taught us anything, it is that even though population growth and inappropriate technologies have played important roles in accelerating environmental degradation, the ecological rift we are now facing has its principal source in the economy.

  • French translation in Écologie & Politique, no. 43 (2011), pp. 109-30.

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