Consumption has been for many years the fuel that drives the engine
of global capitalism. The recent financial crisis has seen the
West's leading economists and policy makers urging Asia to make a
conscious effort to consume more and thereby help save the global
economy. This is a view shaped by conventional wisdom which
conveniently refuses to acknowledge both the undesirable effects of
consumption and the limits to growth. In Consumptionomics one of
Asia's leading sources of new ideas, Chandran Nair, tackles head on
what is certain to prove the most controversial political challenge
of the next two decades. Consumptionomics argues that the blinkered
conventional view needs to be replaced by a more rational approach
to such challenges. If Asians were to achieve consumption levels
taken for granted in the West the results would be environmentally
catastrophic across the globe. Needless to say, it would also have
significant geopolitical impacts as nations scramble for
diminishing resources. Asian governments and leaders find
themselves with a dilemma. The solutions will entail making
sensitive political choices and adopting certain forms of
government to effect a fundamental change of direction. If Asia is
willing to take on this responsibility it will help to save the
planet whilst reshaping capitalism.
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