June 17, 2013

Competitive Spending Monday

20% of the world population are engaging in competitive spending while consuming
80% of the earth's natural resources.

The 1998 Human Development Report investigated the 20th century's growth in consumption, unprecedented in its scale and diversity.

Competitive spending and conspicuous consumption are turning the affluence of some into the social exclusion of many.

And the pressures for competitive spending continue to mount. Keeping up with the Joneses has shifted from striving to match the consumption of a next-door neighbour to pursuing the life styles of the rich and famous depicted in movies and television shows.

Inequalities in consumption are stark. Globally, the 20% of the world's people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures - the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%.

More specifically, the richest fifth:
  • Consume 45% of all meat and fish, the poorest fifth 5%.
  • Consume 58% of total energy, the poorest fifth less than 4%.
  • Have 74% of all telephone lines, the poorest fifth 1.5%.
  • Consume 84% of all paper, the poorest fifth 1.1%.
  • Own 87% of the world's vehicle fleet, the poorest fifth less than 1%.
Runaway growth in consumption in the past 50 years is putting strains on the environment never before seen.

- From:  Human Development Report 1998 Overview, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

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