Max Weber believed in the power of an idea. This political theorist discussed how Calvinism was one idea that perpetuated the rise of capitalism. Few people ever examine the power of an idea, but if one examines and contemplates this theory, a realization comes across: that ideas drive society. The key premise is that some values of our society must be altered in order to avert catastrophic consequences. The way of life in developed countries is "the origin of many of our most serious problems"(Trainer, 1985). Because developed countries have high material living standards and consume massive quantities of all resources, "hundreds of millions of people in desperate need must go without the materials and energy that could improve their conditions while these resources flow into developed countries, often to produce frivolous luxuries"(Trainer, 1985).
People's way of life seems to be a glaring example of values leading to high rates of personal consumption of resources and the waste of these same materials. In addition to overconsumption, the services used to supply our society with goods, (examples of these goods would be food, water, energy, and sewage services.) tends to be wasteful and expensive. Production is organized in such a way, (usually highly centralized) that travel becomes an enormous burden. Another consideration is that our population is expected to increase to rise to eleven billion within the next half century. Considering the mineral and energy resources needed in the future, these estimates must also include the consumption of a population almost doubled from its current status and these same figures must include an expected increase in the affluence of developed countries. "If we are willin...
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...st be adopted by every person on the planet, (starting in the developed world), otherwise the world will cease to support life.
Holdgate, Martin. From Care to Action. 1996. Earthscan Publications Ltd, London.
Trainer, F.E. Abandon Affluence. 1985. Zed Books Ltd, London.
Von Tunzelmann, G. N. Technology and industrial progress : the foundations of economic growth. Aldershot, Hants, England ; Brookfield, Vt., 1995.
Adams, W. M. Green development : environment and sustainability in the Third World , W.M. Adams. London ; New York : Routledge, 1990.
5. Anderson, Anthony, B. Alternatives to deforestation : steps toward sustainable use of the Amazon rain forest , editor. New York : Columbia University Press, 1990.
6. Auty, Richard, M. Approaches to sustainable development , edited by Katrina Brown. London ; New York : Pinter, 1997.
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