Consumption has been for many years the fuel that drives the engine of global capitalism. The recent financial crisis has seen the West's leading economists and policy makers urging Asia to make a conscious effort to consume more and thereby help save the global economy. This is a view shaped by conventional wisdom which conveniently refuses to acknowledge both the undesirable effects of consumption and the limits to growth.In Consumptionomics one of Asia's leading sources of new ideas, Chandran Nair, tackles head on what is certain to prove the most controversial political challenge of the next two decades.Consumptionomics argues that the blinkered conventional view needs to be replaced by a more rational approach to such challenges. If Asians were to achieve consumption levels taken for granted in the West the results would be environmentally catastrophic across the globe. Needless to say, it would also have significant geopolitical impacts as nations scramble for diminishing resources. Asian governments and leaders find themselves with a dilemma. The solutions will entail making sensitive political choices and adopting certain forms of government to effect a fundamental change of direction. If Asia is willing to take on this responsibility it will help to save the planet whilst reshaping capitalism.
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