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  1. 1

    The conundrum of consumption.

    Durning AT

    In: Beyond the numbers. A reader on population, consumption, and the environment, edited by Laurie Ann Mazur. Washington, D.C., Island Press, 1994. 40-7.

    Consumers in developed countries and the middle income and poor in developing countries comprise the world's ecological social classes. These groups are distinguished by their per capita consumption of natural resources, emissions of pollution, and disruption of habitats. 1.1 billion people in the world are poor or earn less than $700 annually per family member and earn only 2% of world income. 100 million of the poor are homeless. 3.3 billion people are middle income, earn between $700 and $7500 annually per family member, and claim 33% of world income. 1.1 billion people are consumers with annual income over $7500 per family member and claim 64% of world income. Included in the consumers are 202 billionaires and 3 million millionaires. Consumption is viewed as a societal good and the goal of national economic policy, but consumption has a large environmental cost. Industrialized countries with 25% of world population consume 40-86% of the earth's natural resources. The consumer class are responsible for 3.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, while the middle class is responsible for only 0.5 tons and the poor for 0.1 tons annually. The average person in an industrialized country consumes 3 times as much fresh water, 10 times as much energy, and 9 times as much aluminum as a person in a developing country. 75% of sulfur and nitrogen oxides responsible for acid rain come from fuel burned in industrialized countries. Most of the world's hazardous chemical waste comes from factories in industrialized countries. 96% of radioactive waste comes from atomic power plants in industrialized countries. 99% of the world's nuclear warheads are housed in developed countries. 90% of the chlorofluorocarbons are released from air conditioners, aerosol sprays, and factories. Herman Daly's solution applied over the next 40 years would involve stopping the growth of per capita resource consumption in developed countries, allowing developing countries to catch up, and limiting population growth to a single doubling. The solution to the problem of maintaining a sustainable environment may be in reducing consumption among the consumer class and tempering aspirations among the middle income and poor. The substitute for a happy consumer society is a shift to fulfillment in leisure, human relationships, and other nonmaterial pursuits and high quality, low input durable goods. The goal is living by efficiency rather than excess.
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  2. 2
    Peer Reviewed

    Urbanization in the Caribbean and trends of global convergence-divergence.

    Potter RB

    GEOGRAPHICAL JOURNAL. 1993 Mar; 159(1):1-21.

    The author first shows that the Caribbean is comparatively highly urbanized, and that this trend toward urbanization occurred mainly since World War II. He maintains that "contemporary Caribbean urbanization can only be understood in terms of the joint processes of global convergence-divergence. Convergence represents the universal adoption of Western norms of consumption, whilst divergence connotes increasingly varied production possibilities between nations owing to the International Division of Labour. However, it is shown that owing to the differential processes of conservation and dissolution of traditional pre-capitalist forms, convergence on Western patterns of consumption impacts upon different social groups within the Caribbean region in a highly unequal manner." (EXCERPT)
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  3. 3

    Variation in the level of living across social groups in India during 1973-74.

    Bhattacharya N; Pal P

    DEMOGRAPHY INDIA. 1986 Jul-Dec; 15(2):253-7.

    The authors compare the standard of living, as measured by per capita consumption expenditure, among five social-class groups in India using data from a national sample survey. (ANNOTATION)
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  4. 4

    Development and the elimination of poverty

    Keyfitz N

    Economic Development and Cultural Change. 1982 Apr; 30(3):649-70.

    This essay argues that the drive toward a middle class style of life in developing countries has resulted over the past 30-odd years of conscious development effort in a series of negative consequences in diverse spheres: persistence of inequality, expansion of government, neglect of agriculture, and urban bias of education and research. The class context of development, the role of the middle class, the characteristics and components of the middle class life style, and the American contribution to its development are assessed, after which the methodology and results of measuring the poor and the middle class in the US and elsewhere are considered. Measurement of the middle class can be attempted through ownership of articles such as automobiles, through energy consumption, or through income: one estimate is that the global middle class increased from 200 million in 1950 to 800 million by 1980 through the addition of Japan, Europe, and some increase in the 3rd world. The nature of middle class work and the consequences of the preference for middle class work on the part of national elites for local development efforts is described, along with the related theme of the conflict between alleviation of poverty and development of an indigenous middle class in 3rd world countries. China and Brazil are viewed as the 2 extremes in this trade-off. The incentives to massive urban migration that occur in conjunction with development policies favoring the middle class are outlined. Finally, it is argued that reaching for middle class status is an explanatory rather than a policy variable. The social mechanisms that cause the spread of the middle class to take precedence over the alleviation of poverty need to be more closely examined.
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  5. 5

    [Bolivia: framework for population policy] Bolivia: marco referencial sobre politicas de poblacion.

    Carafa CR

    In: Luz y sombra de la vida: mortalidad y fecundidad en Bolivia [Light and dark of life: mortality and fertility in Bolivia], by Carlos Carafa, Gerardo Gonzalez, Valeria Ramirez, Rene Pereira, and Hugo Torrez La Paz, Bolivia, Proyecto Politicas de Poblacion, 1983. 1-42.

    Bolivia's population policy must be framed within 3 contexts: an economic and family structure which conditions production and reproduction; as part of Latin America, which is characterized by dependent development, structural heterogeneity, and social differentiation; and as a particlar socioeconomic structure with specific population dynamics. As a peripheral country subordinate to the developed capitalist nations, Bolivia has undergone a process of social differentiation. Mining, which has shaped the economy and society, is declining. Agriculture dominates in terms of jobs, but peasant farms cannot compete with agribusiness. A weak manufacturing sector and increasing urbanization have created vast underemployment and a swollen tertiary sector. Urban-rural disparities have widened. Only 2% of all rural health care needs are met; water and sewerage services are similarly deficient. As the main investor and largest employer, the government can guide development, but its policies have favored agroindustrial interests at the expense of the small farmer. These realities suggest the following working hypotheses: 1) the size, structure and growth of the population determines both the supply of labor and the demand for goods and services. 2) Bolivia's unbalanced occupational structure heightens class differences and disparities in life chances; reproductive patterns reflect the population's social and material circumstances. 3) Outmigration is the peasantry's response to the crisis of the rural areas; migratory movement follow economic activity. 4) Mortality and fertility differentials reflect socioeconomic and cultural differences; rural families see children as assets; 5) The costs fo bearing and raising children do not affect reproductive decisions among the peasantry. 6) Early marriages, low use of contraceptives, low education all interact to raise the fertility of peasant women; these factors are weaker among salaried workers. 7) Urbanization unleashes a number of changes which depress fertility; traditional values are eclipsed by the costs of childbearing. 8) Mortality risks are higher in the rural areas and affect all subgrups; urban areas exhibit greater variation. 9) Disparities in death and fertility rates suggest that different subgroups are at different stages of the demographic transition. Bolivia as a whole is in the 1st stage of this process.
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