Sustainability and growth
Our World in Data has created two great posts this year, highlighting how the often proposed dichotomy between economic growth & sustainability is false.
In The economies that are home to the poorest billions of people need to grow if we want global poverty to decline substantially, Max Roser points out that given our current wealth,
the average income in the world is 16 international dollars per day
Which is far below what we’d think of as the poverty line in developed countries. This means that mere redistribution of what we have is insufficient - we’d all end up poor and unable to continue developing much further because we’re too occupied with mere survival.
In How much economic growth is necessary to reduce global poverty substantially?, he writes:
I found that $30 per day is, very approximately, the level below which people are considered poor in high-income countries.
in the section Is it possible to achieve both, a reduction of humanity’s negative impact on the environment and a reduction of global poverty?, he adds:
As you will see in our writing there are several important cases in which an increased consumption of specific products gets into unavoidable conflict with important environmental goals; in such cases we aim to emphasize that we all as individuals, but also entire societies, should strongly consider to reduce the consumption of these products – and thereby reduce the use of specific resources and forgo some economic growth – to achieve these environmental goals. We believe a clear understanding of which specific reductions in production and consumption are necessary to reduce our impact on the environment is a much more forceful approach to reducing environmental harm than an unspecific opposition to economic growth in general.
So for discussions on how to approach individual “consumption” or policymaking around it, we could start a list of specific products to avoid. Would somebody be up for compiling this? It would be a resource I’d link to quite regularly. You can apparently just extract them from the 13 links Max Roser put just above the paragraph cited above. It would make for a great, short and crisp EA Forum post, too.