In his article Rich Man, Poor Man… Poor Planet (Issue 309), Rowland Atkinson understandably focuses on the very rich in highlighting the destructive power of consumerism. But you don’t have to be super-rich to be culpable, and in fact we have all only been doing what’s expected of us.

Since the early 1980s in particular we have been encouraged to spend, spend, spend to keep the economy going. Indeed, household expenditure typically accounts for well over 60% of GDP in the UK. Conversely, in contrast to the other major EU economies, we rank quite near the ...


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