Embarrassment of the Wealthy

| 2/6/2008 9:18:42 AM

Photo of Gold

The claim that mass consumerism is killing the planet isn’t new, but perhaps it’s best made by French author Hervé Kempf. In an article from the French-Canadian newspaper Le Devoir translated on the website Truthout, Louis-Gilles Francoeur highlights the relationship between economics and the environment explored in Kempf’s new book, Comment les riches détruisent la planète (How the Rich Destroy the Planet). Kempf sees economic disparity and ecological destruction as symptoms of a single disease: capitalism. The system’s rigidity makes it incapable of supporting the changes needed to remedy our present environmental crisis, Kempf believes, and the only solution is to “bring down the rich.”

(Thanks, Adbusters.)

Morgan Winters

Correction: Due to an editing error, the newspaper Le Devoir was originally identified as French. It is French Canadian.

2/7/2008 6:27:59 PM

We're ALL responsible for overuse of resources, no matter what the income level. Everyone wants the latest technology, dozens of knicknacks and collectibles, hundreds of items of clothing, books, etc., the ability to travel. How much of our material goods are truly necessary and how much is just desirable? It's mankinds' nature to want "bigger, better, faster, more". We can justify our possesions, as Green Controller attempts to. But as he also points out, who is qualified to be the judge? My family of four lives, cooks and works in a 1,000 foot home quite comfortably. (The machine shop is in the garage, but all the office work is done in the house.) So is he using a disproportionate share of resources because he needs 2,000' for two people?

Viviane Blais_1
2/7/2008 6:00:16 PM

Don't want to be nitipicky here but while Hervé Kempf is indeed French (i.e. from France), Le Devoir is not a French newspaper, but a French Canadian one. As for Louis-Gilles Francoeur, who wrote the article in Le Devoir, he is a Canadian journalist. !AƯĈ

green controller
2/7/2008 1:39:05 PM

this kind of analysis and discourse does environmental movements no good. It makes greenies come across as controlling and dictatorial as conservatives on the right. For example, who decides how big a house is too big? I lived for years in 850 sq ft. house and it was clearly not big enough for two people. Now I live in 2000 sq ft And we have built a home you can live in. I've got a good cooking space so I don't need to go out to restaurants. I've got a good working space so I don't need to go find some other place to work, I've got a good writing space where I'm not intruded upon by other people. Will the greenies take different peoples attitudes and lifestyles into account in deciding how much house is too much? Will a city hating introvert like me get more square footage than someone who is only home to shower, change clothes, and get laid? I don't think most greeny thinking is sufficiently nuanced. It suffers from one-true-way thinking and as a result, alienates their natural constituencies by threatening what they find important in their life.

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