Global sustainability requires large-scale reductions in rich world per capita resource use rates. Globalised, industrialised and commercialised supply paths involve high resource, energy, dollar and other costs. However, “The Simpler Way” involving small-scale integrated localised settlements and economies can enable enormous reductions in these costs. Most transport, packaging and marketing costs can be eliminated, and various outputs such as animal manures, kitchen scraps, garden biomass, household grey and black water can be transformed from costly “waste” disposal problems into direct inputs to other functions such as methane digesters, composting, and fish and animal feeds. Thus, there are also savings on the cost of inputs of fertilizer and water, etc. In addition the industrial supply path tends to have many negative “co-products”, most obviously pollution effects, whereas the local path avoids these while providing important positive co-products and social benefits. This study uses input–output analysis of one product, eggs, to illustrate how big the difference between the two paths can be. The implications for sustainable development are profound. If the findings of this study are sound and generalizable the Simpler Way would enable very large reductions in resource and ecological impacts for sustainability to be achieved, but only if extremely radical changes are made in economic, political and cultural systems.
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Trainer, T., Malik, A. & Lenzen, M. A Comparison Between the Monetary, Resource and Energy Costs of the Conventional Industrial Supply Path and the “Simpler Way” Path for the Supply of Eggs. Biophys Econ Resour Qual 4, 9 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41247-019-0057-8
- Production costs
- Alternative economics
- Local economies