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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday March 01 2016, @06:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the less-stuff-means-smaller-houses dept.

IKEA made headlines when it openly mused about Western economies "reaching peak stuff", but they are by no means the only folks who think that our seemingly insatiable appetite for more and more stuff might finally be leveling out.

New figures from the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that the amount of raw materials consumed by the UK economy fell from 15 tonne per person in 2001 to just over 10 tonnes in 2013.

That's a pretty astounding drop.

True, there was this tiny thing called The Great Recession between then and now. But still, such a huge decrease in everything from steel to plastics to fuel and biomass suggests that something bigger (or maybe smaller?) is going on. Over at The Guardian, Patrick Collinson takes a deeper dive into the numbers, noting among other things that the digitization of industries such as music, movies and more has led to a large decrease in raw materials within those industries. And also that industry has gotten better about using less material for each product created.

Have you reached peak stuff?


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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01 2016, @09:55PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01 2016, @09:55PM (#312374)

    Characteristics of Neoliberalism:
    Tax breaks for the rich and powerful
    Privatization of public services
    Cuts to the social safety net
    Attacks on labor unions
    Passage of so-called "free trade" agreements allowing unfettered capital investment flows (aka exporting jobs)
    Minimal regulation of financial institutions and corporations
    Endless marketization of society

    Neoliberalism views people simply as consumers.
    The system is driving the planet and humankind into an untenable situation.
    It was created by The Few for The Few.
    It is not a law of nature; it can be dismantled by The Many.
      -- David Barsamian, host of Alternative Radio, introducing Henry Giroux (with some tiny edits)

    Terms identified with Neoliberalism:
    Radical deregulation
    Globalization
    Market fundamentalism
    Laissez faire capitalism
    Supply-side economics
    Thatcherism
    Reaganism
    Clintonism

    .
    Robert Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few".
    This week, Reich wrote

    Dear GOP Establishment: Brace for a Painful Reckoning With the Reality You Created [alternet.org]
    you forgot that your workers are also consumers. As you’ve pushed wages downward, you’ve also squeezed your customers so tight they can hardly afford to buy what you have to sell.

    In addition, this week, Reich endorsed Bernie Sanders for President.

    .
    N.B. 23 percent USA unemployment[1] [shadowstats.com] is NOT a "recession".
    (Looking at the stock market^W^W speculators' market and seeing how billionaires are doing is NOT a useful measure of an economy--hasn't been for many years.)

    Note also that that 23 percent doesn't include another 25 percent who are working for poverty wages and have no discretionary spending.
    Most USAians are 1 small negative event away from total financial disaster. [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [commondreams.org]

    [1] Not only does the govt's official count not get the numbers correct, they don't even get the trend right.
    Thanks for the "improvement" in the counting method, Bill Clinton.

    .
    Regarding a shift away from petroleum-based media substrates and to bit-based media touches on the economy of the present and future: more BitTorrent, DarkNet, et al and fewer middlemen who produce nothing but who expect to be paid anyway.
    Getting rid of the parasites is a Good Thing(tm).

    -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

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