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Environmentalism of the Rich$
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Peter Dauvergne

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034951

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034951.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

The Business of More

The Business of More

(p.41) 4 The Business of More
Environmentalism of the Rich

Peter Dauvergne

The MIT Press

This chapter pans out from the islands of the Pacific to analyze the forces of unsustainable production and consumption underlying the global sustainability crisis. It demonstrates how, everywhere, inequality is increasing, as is conspicuous, wasteful consumption as companies pursue more sales and more profits. The chapter highlights how advertisers manufacture desires and needs, how big-box retailers and brand manufacturers claiming to be responsible and sustainable are selling inexpensive, nondurable products, and how governments finance infrastructure (e.g., subsidizing roads and bridges) to stimulate even higher levels of consumption. States pursue more consumption in the name of economic growth; multinational corporations for more profits for owners and shareholders; and the world’s billionaires to amass even more wealth. One result, as this chapter documents, is extreme and rising inequality, with 1 percent of the world’s population now controlling approximately half of the world’s wealth. Other results include rising ecological footprints, overexploitation of natural resources, and an escalating global environmental crisis – the themes of the book’s next chapter.

Keywords:   advertisers, big-box retailers, billionaires, brand manufacturers, conspicuous consumption, corporate social responsibility (CSR), inequality, multinational corporations

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