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In: Consumption, population, and sustainability: perspectives from science and religion, edited by Audrey R. Chapman, Rodney L. Petersen, and Barbara Smith-Moran. Washington, D.C., Island Press, 2000. 207-17.One way of assessing consumption is to consider whether a consumption choice or pattern may be beneficial or detrimental to a person's own well-being, which is apart from its effect on institutions, other people and the world. What role should goods and services play if our lives are to go well? What kinds of consumption are good for us? In seeking to answer these questions, the author begins by assessing the notions of materialism and antimaterialism. He states that getting clear on how these rival norms go wrong will help establish a more adequate consumption norm and a better conception of “well-being” In a subsequent exploration of the concept of well-being, it is noted that to be and to do well, is to function and to be capable of functioning in certain humanly good ways. This conception provides the basis for a general consumption norm. It is cited that one consumption pattern or choice is better than another if it does better in protecting and promoting a person's well-being. Such a consumption norm has sufficient content to rule out the one-sidedness of materialism and antimaterialism, and to permit "balancing acts", depending on a person's specific abilities, opportunities, and choices. Thus, wise consumption requires knowledge of ones' self and ones' society as well as choice in the light of that knowledge.
Family Planning Perspectives. 1988 May-Jun; 20(3):139-43.The issues surrounding fertility decline and demographic aging in Europe are discussed. The author asserts that "the numerical declines and older age structures anticipated offer two potential benefits: First, a period of lessened pressure from population growth could provide...an improved quality of life by bringing consumption patterns into better alignment with ecological reality. Second..., a shift in age structure could possibly result in reduced demands on resources and could, in fact, provide less support for the general ethic of economic growth itself." (EXCERPT)
Assessment and implementation of health care priorities in developing countries: incompatible paradigms and competing social systems.
Social Science and Medicine. 1984; 19(4):373-84.This paper addresses conceptual issues underlying the assessment and implementation of health care priorities in developing countries as practiced by foreign development agencies coping with a potentially destabilizing unmet social demand. As such, these agencies mediate the gap between existing health care structures patterned around the narrow needs of the ruling classes and the magnitude of public ill-health which mass movements strive to eradicate with implications for capitalism at large. It is in this context that foreign agencies are shown to intervene for the reassessment and implementation of health care priorities in developing countires with the objective of defending capitalism against the delegitimizing effects of its own development, specifically the persistence of mass disease. Constrained by this objective, the interpretations they offer of the miserable state of health prevailing in developing countries and how it could be improved remains ideological: it ranges between "stage theory" and modern consumption-production Malthusiansim. Developing countries are entering into a new pattern of public health which derives from their unique location in the development of capitalism, more specifically in the new international division of labor. Their present position affects not only the pattern and magnitude of disease formation but also the effective alleviation of mass disease without an alteration in the mode of production itself. In the context of underdevelopment, increased productivity is at the necessary cost of public health. Public health improvement is basically incompatible with production-consumption Malthusianism from which the leading "Basic Needs" orientation in the assessment and implementation of health care priorities derives. Marx said that "countries of developing capitalism suffer not only from its development but also from its underdevelopment." (author's modified)