China’s Unsustainable Economic Growth and Development: The Influence of Conspicuous Consumption
Please cite the paper as:
James Angresano, (2012), China's Unsustainable Economic Growth and Development: The Influence of Conspicuous Consumption, World Economics Association (WEA) Conferences, No. 2 2012, Sustainability – Missing Points in the Development Dialogue, 24th September to 21st October, 2012
Most of the literature analyzing the sustainability of China’s economy tends to be directed at whether the country can maintain its unprecedented high rates of economic growth. Too little concern has been given to the sustainability of China’s ecosystem, and the effect of rising consumption on the rapid degradation of that ecosystem. This paper will focus on the factors propelling the dramatic shift in values over the past 30 years that heavily favor higher rates of conspicuous consumption and waste, using Thorstein Veblen’s classic analysis of this type of consumption. One negative effect of this consumption has been a dramatic decline of the supply and quality of water that has brought the sustainability of China’s economy and ecosystem into question.