Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Philosophy, Technology, and the Environment$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David M. Kaplan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035668

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035668.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

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: 01 July 2022

Do We Consume Too Much?

Do We Consume Too Much?

(p.173) 10 Do We Consume Too Much?
Philosophy, Technology, and the Environment

Mark Sagoff

The MIT Press

Marc Sagoff examines the relation between sustainability and the production and consumption of consumer products. He takes the optimistic view that economic production will never be seriously constrained by a lack of natural resources. None of the concerns that have occupied the environmental movement since the 1970s – global population, depletion of non-renewable resources, or food shortages – have materialized. He suggests that environmentalists embrace technological solutions instead of denying the power of technological progress or simply decrying consumerism as wasteful. Nevertheless, there are indeed good reasons to question consumerism. Although technology can overcome the physical limits nature sets on the amount we can produce and consume, there are moral, spiritual, and cultural limits to growth. Simply put, we consume too much – not because of the resources we use but because our market-driven consumerist culture undermines “the bonds of community, compassion, culture, and place.” We consume too much when consumption becomes an end in itself and “makes us lose affection and reverence for the natural world.” Sagoff wishes to focus the debate on consumerism on the social lives we seek to preserve rather than the resources we may exhaust. That way we might stop vilifying technology and Romanticizing nature.

Keywords:   Sustainability, Production, Consumerism, Consumption, Technology

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.