Hey, Big Spender: Discretionary Income Buying Patterns


We often hear the complaint that it cost too much to ‘go green.’ This is, of course, a blatant untruth. Those that spend the least, by and large, consume a lesser amount of the world’s many precious and finite resources.

We know that for developed countries, the money spent on essentials like food has been steadily dropping, as their spend on short-lived fashion, energy greedy gadgetry and exotic holidays increases. For example, in figures just released by the the US Department of Agriculture, the average US citizen was found to spend less than 10% of their total income on food, during 2007..

Now the New York Times has put up a remarkable graphic, which clearly indicates what countries spend in the categories of clothing, electronics, recreation, household goods, alcohol and tobacco. The chart shows the per capita consumption of many ‘western’ countries. It is kinda obvious who the big spender is.
The New York Times obtained the figures for their multimedia chart from Euromonitor International. You might be thinking that someone out there has probably collated similar comparative stats on which countries spend the most on land conservation, public transport, renewable energy and the like. One such study close to this, is the extraordinary WorldMapper project. And then there was the other study which compared organic agriculture for different countries.

It’s always an enlightening and useful exercise to step out of our own insular lives, and see just how we are placed -- in comparison to our fellow passengers on spaceship earth.

New York Times, via Daring Fireball

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