Changing Social Values and Lifestyles: From a Consumer Towards a Conserver Society?
Serious economic analyses of the various possible physical constraints on economic growth (demography; food; energy; industrial raw materials; technology) clearly indicate that economic growth in the developed industrialised countries will not be halted by them during the next twenty years (up to 2000). Indeed, there are no absolute physical limits to food and energy production, and there is no universal or absolute physical scarcity of raw materials, neither lack of scientific and technical innovations. The real problem is access to these raw materials due to their uneven geographical distribution which creates political risks of discrimination (crises/shortages caused by cartels, etc.). On the other hand, these same analyses also demonstrate clearly that macroeconomic and social constraints on economic growth — such as: insufficient private investment, balance-of-payments deficits, inflation, increasing costs, changes in competitive positions, changing social values and lifestyles, institutional sclerosis (social oligopolitisation), decreasing ability of governments to coordinate their policies, etc. — are much more important than potential physical constraints. It then appears that among the various possible future macro-economic growth scenarios (high, moderate and low up to the year 2000), the most plausible scenario seems to be a moderate one with elements of slow growth.
KeywordsPolitical Risk American Market Association Consumer Society Conserver Society Lifestyle Pattern
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