I'm James Wallman — author, entrepreneur, futurist. Welcome to The Future Is Here. We provide sensible, robust, useful strategic advice to people like you.

Capitalism is rubbish

We all know the rise of planned obsolescence, throwaway culture and waste is a key part of the success of consumer-driven capitalism. (If not, read Stuffocation.) 

But who knew how terrible it is? 

  • Of the total materials that flow through the U.S.’s production and distribution processes every day, 99% will be waste within six months
  • Half of the food produced in the U.S. is thrown out, two thirds of that before it even reaches the point of consumption.
  • "In a real, material sense, capitalism doesn’t produce goods nearly so much as it produces trash"
  • Source: The New Inquiry Volume 40 (New York-based non-profit publication)


What does this mean? It means we have to reduce the amount of waste we create. Especially if we're to achieve the Paris climate agreement target of 1.5C above pre-Industrial Revolution levels by 2100. To do this, we'll have to have net zero emissions (and probably less than zero emissions — that is, to become a carbon sink) sometime around 2070. For more, read Paris climate deal: key points at a glance.

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