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Lecture

Consumption, Affluence, and Maximization.pdf

3 Pages
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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTH 206
Professor
Peter Rudiak- Gould

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Connections Environmental problems do not automatically stem from consumption/affluence Not all consumption is harmful People at the same level can have different ecological footprints Consumption/affluence are still key dimensions of environmental problems Current consumption levels are unsustainable Would take 3 earths to support the current levels of consumption Renewable resources are being depleted too Too fast to renew 50% of fresh water being used 50% of the earth's land areas 40% of plant mass Blame Individual consumption choices Key Concepts Env. anthropology studies how societies use natural resources (consumption), to what extent (maxi...), and with what motivations (affluence) Economic man Increase in material wealth is a form of progress Growth in material wealth can continue forever There is no limit to people's desires All people always act to maximize their material well-being There is no limit to people's desire for material accumulation People work not for pleasure but for material gain Affluence is an absolute, objective physical state of material abundance Perversive views Economist Rational self-interest Politic Endless economic growth Postmodernist Critique Increases in material wealth are not always a form of progress Environmentalist Harmful for environment Happiness Above a certain income, more wealth makes no differences to happiness Leftism Equality is more important than wealth Increases in material wealth cannot continue forever Many people act to maximize prestige, leisure, safety, or conviviality; not wealth People in many societies have limited desires Satisfaction can be gained by limiting desires Buddhism Reduce suffering by reducing desire People in many societies enjoy work or value it for reasons other than productivity Affluence is a mental state of perceived abundance, or a relative state of wealth vis-a-vis others Original Affluent Society The old modernist assumption Foraging is an inferior lifestyle Foragers are poor Foragers toil constantly in order to survive Foragers engage in improvident economic activity They eat all the food they catch without saving some for later or
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