Feed on

I am quite sure you have encountered the claim that Americans consume too much and that our drive to consume has sacrificed the planet. Let’s not disagree with that.

But doesn’t that idea sit uncomfortably next to the commonly committed pie-fallacy? After all, we see our current two political candidates arguing about who “wins” in trade, as if there is a winner and a loser. Lots of our popular thinking on exchanges is that wealth is zero sum.

But if wealth is zero sum, if there are winners and losers from trade, if my productive abilities reduce your productive abilities, then how can it be the case that our drive to consume more and more and more has ANY impact on the planet or overall well-being?

2 Responses to “Consumerism Conundrum”

  1. Alex says:

    Good point

    • Alex says:

      But of course it’s only the wealthy that are consuming too much. So they win at the direct and indirect expense of everyone else.

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