In a philosophical twist to the Anthropocene paradox materialistic urges quite possibly might see about mankind’s ultimate unraveling. While consumption may indeed rise it requires consumers consuming in order to keep the shop tills ringing. Please forgive me if you think I’m denouncing the argument for that’s far from the desired case.
However, while populations do grow I’m quite confident that unless other Earths are found, socially seeded and promptly so, there will be a period when a plateau is reached. Infinite growth, as idealistic and romantic as it sounds, is far from an infinitely certain scenario.
On the other hand, materialism has its stressors in that faithful dogmatic consumption requires constant capital accumulation and even more so the will or greed to earn a “desirable living” capital in order to shop till you drop.
In first world New Zealand, besides the welcoming of new migrants fewer and fewer Kiwis are electing to have more than one child. Why? Well, because children, especially if you don’t wish to raise rotten apples, require a great financial commitment and modern day living is not cheap. Home ownership is dipping and many are resigned to the new position of living a life of liberty without the financial noose around one’s neck.
This new world is one where more and more people are shackled, even if they attest that they are not, to living in the age of consumer FOMO. Owning the latest phone, eating at trendy restaurants, buying several cups of coffee a day, taking more travel escapades by oil gobbling beasts and so on. Even for those who dream of fostering the classic Brady bunch sized family the selfish gene prompts you to rationalize that while you still do not wish to miss out on being a daddy or a mummy, you still want all those copious cups of coffee and la Buena Vida that requires a two income household.
So, yes consumption is rampant but parameters are in place especially as women working (and willfully and willing so with stellar careers) and the baby making maternal force lack their formerly formidable punchy panache. And as the Global South and others join the competitive Capitalist Parade, we may just find a Nash like equilibrium to the anthropocentric boom bust problem.
Then again, that would be based on the surely unfeasible and highly unforeseeable position of world peace and the abolishment of global inequality. And we all tragically know just how short we’ve come at trying to remediate these persistently pressing matters during our precarious occupation of this battered blue marble. God’s speed, humanity!