Patterns of our Footsteps - Rethinking Growth and Prosperity

June 25th, 2012

As the population of Canada doubles in size, one would expect the gross total household consumption of goods and services to increase accordingly.  To be specific, Canada’s population has increased in the last 50 years from approximately 18 million to 34 million; thus, arithmetically speaking, households collectively should be expected to consume 1.89 (i.e., 34 divided by 18) more now as they did as in the 1960s.  However, this is not the case. 

The grey line in the graph below displays the trend of the ratios of total household consumption to population.  This trend shows that consumption per capita has increased, not just consumption in general.  Actual total household consumption has increased 5.21 times the level it was in 1960, which is almost 3 times as high as the expected 1.89.  What are the implications for The Good Society? We are not just consuming more as our population grows, we are becoming more consumer-driven individually.

We see from the graph below that we are consuming more per person and we know GDP has been on the rise since the 1900s, yet we are not getting any happier. Watch our series of videos on Degrowth: A Critical Juncture? for another perspective on growth, prosperity, and the good society.


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