Ranting against American consumer culture

There's 20.2 square feet of retail space for every man, woman and child in the good ol' USA. Is that too much

The drive for clean and green stuff/energy, etc. is in part a reaction to the supersized American consumer culture in general. Big houses, big cars, lots of stuff. All requiring more and more energy and fuel to drive around and get it, play with it, go to the show, etc. Browsing the depressing and completely paranoid LATOC site, I came across an interesting tidbit graphic:

Where America Shops LATOC

Yes you read that right. 20.2 square feet of retail for every man, woman and child in America. 10X the world wide average (assuming it's true). Now the Europeans are small countries and we are a big country with lots of land, so you would expect more, but 10X? Wow. I don't really have a personal problem with that. I love to shop. All that consumerism and retail is the backbone of the US economy. Just because we spend more than everyone else doesn't mean we can't afford it. Or that we should all start living in shoeboxes like the French.

But it does give one a moment of pause. Do we really need 10X the retail of the rest of the world? What if we lived closer to each other and didn't see 10,000 commercials a year. Would we be happier with less? Hummmm...

Tech Culture
About the author

    Martin Tobias is CEO and chairman of Imperium Renewables and a venture partner at Ignition Partners.


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