05 September 2009

Hedonic Treadmill ~ Sterman on Sustainability

Andrew Revkin in his NYTimes DotEarth blog offers this piece Are You On a ‘Hedonic Treadmill’? with extensive commentary by MIT Professor John Sterman, including...
"As long as the dominant ethos is the drive for more consumption per capita -- ever greater accumulation and consumption of material goods, energy, etc., then no amount of efficiency will suffice. For example, improvements in the efficiency of water or energy use just let water- and energy-constrained regions grow further until some other limit is reached, or water and energy once again becomes the constraint. And so on. As long as everyone wants more -- a bigger home, a bigger TV, a fancier vacation, more stuff, more consumption, more than they consumed last year, more than their neighbors -- there can be no technological solution to the problem. [...] The ironic thing is that the pursuit of more, so stunningly successful so far, has not increased our happiness."

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