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Limits to Growth (1972) Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers and William W.

Behrens III, (1972) Limits to Growth, New York: New American Library. Mankind at the Turning Point (1974) Mihaljo Mesarovic and Eduard Pestel, (1974) Mankind at the Turning Point. The Second Report to the Club of Rome, New York: E.P. Dutton. Reshaping the International Order (1976) Jan Tinbergen, (1976) Reshaping the International Order, New York: E.P. Dutton. Goals for Mankind (1977) Ervin Laszlo et al, (1977) Goals for Mankind, A Report to the Club of Rome on the New Horizons of the Global Community, New York: New American Library. Beyond the Age of Waste (1979) D. Gabor and U. Colombo with A. King and R. Galli, (1979) Beyond the Age of Waste, Elmsford, New York: Pergamon Press. Microelectronics and Society, for Better or Worse (1982) Gunter Friedrichs and Adam Schaff, (1982) Microelectronics and Society, for better or worse, Oxford: Pergamon Press. No Limits to Learning (1979) James W. Botkin, Mahdi Elmandjra and Mircea Malitza, (1979) No Limits to Learning, Bridging the Human Gap, Elmsford, New York: Pergamon Press. Energy, the Countdown (1979) Thierry de Montbrial, (1979) Energy, the Countdown, Elmsford, N.Y: Pergamon Press Road Maps to the Future (1980) Bohdan Hawrylyshyn, (1980) Road Maps to the Future Towards more effective societies, Elmsford, New York: Pergamon Press. Dialogue on Wealth and Welfare (1980)

Orio Giarni, (1980) Dialogue on Wealth and Welfare an Alternative View of World Capital Formation, Elmsford New York: Pergamon Press. Tiers-monde: Trois quart du monde (1980) Maurice Guernier, (1980) Tiers-monde: Trois quart du monde, Paris: Dunod. The Future of the Oceans (1986) Elisabeth Mann Borgese, (1986) The Future of the Oceans, A report to the Club of Rome. Montreal: Harvest House. The Barefoot Revolution (1988) Bertrand Schneider, (1988) The Barefoot Revolution: A Report to the Club of Rome, London: IT Publications. Beyond the Limits to Growth (1988) Donella H. Meadows, Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers, (1988) Beyond the Limits to Growth, Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future, Donella H. Meadows (Author). Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing. The Limits to Certainty (1993) Orio Giarini and Walter R. Stahel, (1993 2nd rev Ed, 1st Ed. 1989) The Limits to Certainty, Facing risks in the new service economy- International Studies in the Service Economy, The Netherlands: Kluwer. Taking nature into account (1995) Wouter van Dieren, (1995) Taking nature into account: A Report to the Club of Rome, New York: Copernicus. Factor Four (1997) Ernst von Weizacker, Amory B, Lovins and L Hunter Lovins, (1997) Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use. London: Earthscan. Limits of Social Cohesion (1998) Peter Berger, (1998) The Limits of Social Cohesion: Conflict Mediation in Pluralist Societies : A Report of the Bertelsmann Foundation to the Club of Rome. Boulder: Westview Press. The Oceanic Circle (1999)

Elisabeth Mann Borgese, (1999) The Oceanic Circle, Governing the Seas as a Global Resource, Tokyo: United Nations University Press. Im Netz Die hypnotisierte Gesellschaft (1999) Juan L. Cebrian, (1999) Im Netz Die hypnotisierte Gesellschaft. Der neue Bericht an den Club of Rome, DVA Menschlichkeit Gewinnt (2000) Reinhard Mohn, Menschlichkeit Gewinnt , Eine Strategie fr Fortschritt und

Fhrungsfhigkeit Ein Bericht an den Club of Rome, Verlag Bertelsman Stiftung. Capacity to Govern (2001) Yehezkel Dror, (2001) Capacity to Govern a Report to the Club of Rome, Abingdon: Routledge. Die Kunst vernetzt zu Denken (2002) Frederic Vester, (2002 1st Ed. 7th Ed: 2008) Die Kunst Vernetzt zu Denken, Ideen und Werkzeuge fur einen neuen Umgang mit Komplexitat, Munich: DVA. The Future of People with Disability in the World (2002) Rafael de Lorenzo Garcia, (2002) The Future of people with disability in the world, Human Development and Disability, Report to the Club of Rome. Ankara. The Double Helix of Learning and Work (2003) Orio Giarini and Mircea Malitza, (2003) The Double Helix of Learning and Work Studies on Science and Culture, Bucharest: UNESCO. Limits to Privatization (2005) Ernst Ulrich von Weizacker, Oran R. Young, Matthias Finger with Marianne Beisheim, (2005) Limits to Privatization: How to Avoid too Much of a Good Thing, London: Earthscan. Global Population Blow-Up and After (2006) Sergey P. Kapitza, (2006) Global Population Blow-up and after: The Demographic Revolution and Information Society, Global Marshall Plan Initiative: Hamburg. The Employment Dilemma and the Future of Work (2006)

Orio Giarini and Patrick M. Liedtke, (2006 2nd Ed.) The Employment Dilemma and the Future of Work, Report to the Club of Rome, Geneva: The Geneva Association. Factor Five (2009) Ernst von Weizacker, Karlson Hargroves, Michael H. Smith with Cheryl Desha and Peter Stasinopoulos, (2009) Factor Five: Transforming the global economy through 80% improvements in resource productivity, London:Earthscan. The Blue Economy (2010) Gunter Pauli, (2010) The Blue Economy-10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 Million Jobs, Available online: Paradigm.

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Fred Hirsch,

Social Limits to Growth.

2nd Edition. 1995, Routledge:
Social Limits to Growth</i> sets forth a new view of the nature and the limitations of economic growth. The authors central argument is that there are indeed limits to growth currently exist and are essentially social rather than physical. As societies have become richer, an increasing proportion of the extra goods, services, and facilities sought by consumers cannot be acquired or used by all, without spoiling them for each other. So frustration is heightened by material affluence, which is why affluence does not make a satisfied society.<p>This book offers important insight on apparently disconnected aspects of the current malaisesuch as alienation at work, the rat-race element in education, deterioration in city living, consumerist relationships with neighbors, friends, and sex partners, as well as accelerating rates of inflation and unemployment.

25 November 2003 178. Status goods and positional goods An economist has written to me to say that, in coining a new term, status goods, I've re-invented the wheel. He suggests that what I say about status goods has been said before about positional goods -- as originally enunciated by Fred Hirsch in his seminal book, Social Limits to Growth(1976). Well, Prof Fred Hirsch was certainly a brilliant economist and it is a great tragedy that he died in his 30s. I'm sure that, had he lived a normal span, he would have contributed a great deal more to the 'dismal' science. However, although the concepts of status goods and positional goods have quite a lot in common, particularly in that they are both much sought after by the rich or the socially/politically ambitious to show their superior position in society (or to aspire to such), there are some important differences. Let me dwell on positional goods first. What Fred Hirsch was saying is that there are goods or services which are so rare and desirable that they can only be bought

by the rich. They can then be exhibited to a greater or lesser extent as signs of high status. However, as general economic prosperity increases, then more and more people desire such positional goods and can afford them. However, because positional goods are rare, or because the pursuit of them by increasing numbers of people actually devalues them, then the lack of desirable positional goods will cause economic stagnation in due course. (An example of a positional good that has become devalued is, say, teh seaside resort of Benidorm, on the Spanish east coast. Fifty years ago it was a beautiful, secluded fishing village to which only the elite went for their holidays. In due course, however, it was discovered by the hoi polloi, and then the holiday companies, and now its beach is choc-a-bloc with hotels, gambling arcades and burger bars. To say that you have been to Benidorm for a holiday doesn't get you many invitations to middle-class dinner parties these days.) Fred Hirsch argued that increasing affluence in the material economy means that more people can compete in the positional economy. However, because positional goods, by their very nature, are in limited supply, it isn't possible for everyone to possess them. Thus, he said, the economy will grind to a halt for motivational reasons rather than for reasons of resource shortages. He was, in a way, contrasting his view with what was by then a growing economic no-growth lobby of environmentalists who had been influenced to a considerable extent by the book, Limits to Growth (1972), written by Dennis L. Meadows which forecasted catastrophic shortages of resources or unacceptable pollution if economic growth continued. On the matter of pollution, Hirsch agreed with the environmental lobby that it was important but he didn't agree with them on the resources issue. In a limited sense, Hirsch was correct because, in the 1970s, oilfields were still continuing to be discovered at a faster rate than oil was used. Total resources were also upped considerably when it was realised that natural gas was much more abundant than was realised previously. Instead of being burned off at wellheads, gas began to be tapped and transported to industrial users as liquified petroleum gas. However, it is now widely agreed by specialists in both government and the oil industry that, from now onwards, total production of oil and gas will gradually tail off, particularly as demand from Asia and China joins that of Europe and America. So the final verdict is that the environmentalists will be correct after all. Of course, there will be new resources, such as tar sands, and deep-mined coal as well as other alternative energy technologies but these will not prevent large price rises unless some miraculously cheap method of tapping into energy is discovered. In the future, expenditure on energy from almost any source for transport and electricity generation will be a much larger proportion of the cost of goods and services in future years and this will have profound effects on the structure of the way we work and live.

Hirsch argued that people worry about their share of the economic pie not so much because of the intrinsic satisfactions they obtain, but because it enables them to score in the positional economy. IKn his view, this was the main motivator of economic growth. This was a brilliant insight with which I thoroughly agree. Since then, many sociological researches have clearly shown that individuals at all levels are not so much motivated by their absolute earnings but by their earnings relative to their nearest competitors and thus their relative status in the social order. Hirsch would also have been gratified by the more recent researches of ethologists, anthropologists and primatologists which clearly show the universal and overwhelming importance of rank order in primates -- of which we are an example. However, Hirsch tended to think almost in terms of two separate economies running side by side -- the positional economy and the material economy -- and he thought that shortages of supply of positional goods (or congested/polluted supply which would devalue them) would cut in before shortages of material resources would affect the physical economy. But this is where I think Hirsch is wrong because although positional goods are rare by definition at any one time, the total repertoire of different sorts of positional goods can be extended when required. Thus, while there is no scope for augmenting the number of authentic Georgian town houses in London or Bath or stone built cottages in beautiful parts of the Cotswold countryside, new positional goods can always be invented. As they are -constantly. And they don't necessarily have to be tangible goods or services. They can be anything that will raise the recipient to higher places on the social ladder. They can be experiences such as being invited to the White House or 10 Downing Street and having a photo taken of yourself chatting with Bush or Blair. This is currently a highly-prized positional good and some people are prepared to pay very highly -- albeit through devious procedures sometimes -- for those precious photographs (particularly if they are signed). Then there are expensive works of art. However, because old masters and impressionist paintings have become so astronomically expensive they have tended to disappear from private ownership, even by the richest individuals, and end up in major art galleries or foundations. So the supply has to be constantly topped up by the skilful promotion of new modern artists and their works even if, for many people, they are of dubious aesthetic worth. Even climbing Mount Everest these days has become a positional good for hundreds of people in carefully guided groups -- this is as vertically positional as anyone can be, I suppose! It may not rank with owning a Van Gogh but it certainly gives you a social cachet that you can carry for th rest of your life. Within ten or twenty years or so, the experience of travelling to the moon and back will be a positional experience. One South African millionaire has already been expensively launched into space for a few circuits of the earth and the Russians sell this experience. In short, any number of other examples could be given, and any number of positional goods will be available in

the future. Genuine nediueval Cotswold cottages may always be in short supply but a shortage of positional goods per se is plainly not going to be a damper on economic growth. Now let me turn to my concept of status goods. These share the property of positional goods of being highly desired and, at least initially, they are rare enough to be expensive and a clear indication of the wealth or status of a purchaser. However, while positional goods only have very mild economic effects in being able to dribble down a little money to those who sell them, move them, guard them, etc. they don't have any longer term effect other than status. In contrast, status goods have powerful stimulatory effects because they are capable of being obtained or reproduced in larger and larger quantities becoming successively cheaper as they exploit each consumer class at maximum profit before moving downward to the next. The economic effect of a significant status good is analogous to the chain reaction in a nuclear bomb. The successive profit 'explosions' bring about further tranches of investments both for its own production and for that of other hopefuls. In fact, all consumer goods, except food and basic clothing, have been status goods at one time or another throughout mankind's past when they were first invented and traded. Each time a new status good was invented, it carried such a high profit margin that other suppliers then pour in, the good becomes cheaper and cheaper in successive stages and produce, as a byproduct, waves of investment as a Keynesian multiplier in the wider economy. In earlier times, a new status good might take millenia to work its way through all the potential market and all the social strata and it would produce only the smallest degree of economic growth -- but so long as it was positive it was able to bring about the next status good that little bit easier. Today, status goods can sweep through large populations very quickly, pausing only momentarily at each social class before moving onwards and downwards. Pigments were probably the first of all status goods. Once one group leader of high creativity used pigments for facial or body markings to denote his status and could carry it off with aplomb and convincement, the other aspirants for leadership within the group would also want to use them. And then the leaders of adjacent groups, who would certainly see such status markings from time to time -particularly in times of warfare -- would also adopt the custom. Anthropologists have not yet discovered a single hunter-gather group or tribe out of hundreds observed that have not had some form of facial or bodily colourings or tattoos. For this reason, such markings must have started in the very earliest days of mankind when they were probably no more than a few hundred of them. It is hardly likely that there is a specific gene for the making of bodily markings but there is and or gene(s) which strongly predispose man towards status ranking, just as in any other primate species. The imaginative use of pigments in order to enhance status would have taken immediately once the first creative mind had thought of it.

Once the first status good, probably a particular pigment such as red oxide oif iron, was in demand then we have the beginnings of trade. (Carbon black would almost certainly have been the first pigment but that would have been available from charcoal in the camp fire.) But as it is unlikely that one group had access to a pigment of one particular colour and the adjacent group had access to another, there must have been another item which was a natural candidate to trade pigments with. This was almost certainly girls at the age of puberty. The reason for this is that there is an instinctual incest gtaboo which extends not only between brothers and sisters but also between any children who are brought upo closely together. The evolutionary reason for the incest taboo is to make sure that small groups of a species don't interbreed too closely in order to prevent a concentration of dominant deleterious genes. Thus, in all primates species which live in small groups, either the young males or the young females migrate from one group and join another. All primate species are ewither patrilocal or matrilocal. Ours is a patrilocal species in which the young females leave the group. Because girls are obviously going to receive a warm welcome from partnerless males in other groups, then the parents of these girls will be strongly tempted to treat them as commodities if offered exotic goods, such pigments, by way of trade. Rather cruelly, girls who had just reach puberty were surplus to requirements and thus available for exchange. In due course, when there were several different sorts of status goods criss-crossing a large number of group territories tehn the direct trading of girls would not have been necessary. Goods could be exchanged for other goods. However, it is interesting that dowries, of either a positive or negative sort, are almost always involved in those few hunter-gatherer societies which still exist, and also in many agricultural regions. Many goods that were originally status goods -- like pigments -- seem so very trivial to us today that it is difficult to imagine their powerful economic effects. Perhaps the best example of an exceedingly trivial status good that was, in fact, the stimulus to long-distance trade between Europe and Asia and the source of immense profits with large multiplier effects was spices. To us, today, there could hardly be anything more trivial but it was the beginning of economic growth in western Europe that, from then onwards, short-circuited the prosperous Mediterranean region and prepared the way for the industrial revolution. To begin with, spices were very expensive when they finally reached Europe from islands in the Far East such as New Guinea and Indonesia and were only able to be bought by the very rich for decades, and for centuries only by what we would call today the middle classes. Spices were very desirable in Europe because much of the live meat raised here had to be killed and salted during the cold months when grass couldn't grow -- and such meat didn't always winter well! Using spices to cover malodorous and no doubt evil-tasting meat sometimes would be highly desirable. Spices were not necessary for this purpose in their countries of origin because their inhabitatns could always eat fresh meat. Thus, spices were there

almost for the taking! The locals would certainly have cottoned on that spices were desirable to the merchants who visited them but, initially, it was a buyers market because the spices cost nothing to produce and the merchants had highly desirable goods to offer in exchange. Spices today are cheap and smallest item in anybody's shopping basket. They are still desirable for novelty reasons when eating food but certainly not sought after for status reasons. But this is the way with all status goods. Once their desirability for either utilitarian or novelty reasons is known, and while they are still in short supply, they are high-priced and are status goods automatically. Later, as increasing quantities of a particular status good becomes available, it gradually becomes cheaper as it works down the social scale -- producing decreasing, but still useful swathes of profit. Throughout the course of history, and thousands of years before that, thousands of different status goods have gone through this process since the original trading in pigments. And for many items which we use today, such as cutlery and ornamental pottery, roughly four hundred and two hundred years ago respectively, were prized goods bought only by the rich in the first instance -- but which everybody else hankered for as the price gradually came down. Vast profits were made on these items; great industries were established in order to make them. The profits made from one particular 'species' of status good would act as a powerful stimulus for further investment in order to introduce the next one. Economic growth has not been a simple arithmetical matter of consumer increasing their consumption from year to year; rather, it has been a succession of enthusiastic fashions -- of goods that no-one felt complete without. Economic growth therefore needs this succession of status goods. But, as one becomes widespread with lower and lower profit margins, another one is needed in order to keep the momentum going. (Today, reading between the lines of many economic journalists, it is clear that new status goods are desperately needed.) In the last century we had a particularly rich crop of status goods, the most significant being the motor car. Initially, a car could only be bought by the very rich indeed; today, even unemployed people need them if they happen to live in an area without shops. Cars haven't yet reached many undeveloped countries in any quantity, but the supply of them in the developed countries is now so great that even the largest and most efficient of the world's automotive manufacturers find it difficult to make a profit because the industry is so competitive. But exactly the same has applied to all the other status goods of the last century -- radios, TVs, fridges, personal computers, etc. The last could only be bought by the comfortable middle class 30 years ago. Today, they are so widely bought that they are not considered to be a status good any longer.


However, the last item, personal computers, is a very good example of a constraint that is increasingly going to apply to all future status goods. Those who use PCs do so instead of watching TV. The inverse relationship of their time-use has been clearly established by consumer surveys. Thus, PC sales cannibalise on the sales of TVs. We are now coming to the stage where there is scarcely any time available to use use more consumer items. I have little doubt that there'll be many more consumer goods pouring out of the factories of the future, but I'm not so sure that they will have the same stimulation that status goods have always had. I can only think of one or two items that will be status goods in quite the same way that has occurred up until now because they will have to compete for the time, as well as the money, of the consumer. Even if the consumer has sufficient disposable income, he will not necessarily want to encumber himself with yet another consumer good unless it has extraordinary satisfactions that will displace the time spent in using his existing goods. The profit margins of all our present sorts of consumer goods are now becoming vanishingly small and the only way forward for those who produce them is to steadily increase robotic methods in their factories. The only consumer goods and services that I am sure will have a certain future are health services generally and replacement human organs in particular. These are items which don't necessitate devoting large and regular amounts of time to them -- time which people haven't got. Or, rather, time which the harrassed and busy middle-class with disposable income -- those who initiate fashions. I can't think that any other sorts of items will ever have the significance of status goods of the past, and which will motivate the great juggernaut of profits and investments to keep the conventional sort of industrial economy going forward. If, however, status is as genetically important in our lives as the evolutionary scientists tell us, then it will have to be supplied by other methods. Perhaps we will be forced back to social structures that were the norm in the earliest days of man. This needs further discussion and I will leave this for another posting. This one, I hope, has sufficed to clarify the difference between the positional goods of Fred Hirsch and the status goods that I propose, and that there is sufficient reason to think that the economic and social structures that are typical of the industrial era are now coming to an end. Keith Hudson