Vol. 5 No. 2 (2021)
Peer Reviewed Articles

Post-materialism as a basis for achieving environmental sustainability

Douglas Booth
Marquette University
Text-only image of the cover of this issue, grey green background.

Published 2021-08-01

Keywords

  • Post-Materialism,
  • Sustainability,
  • Population Growth,
  • Post-Growth Economy

How to Cite

Booth, D. (2021). Post-materialism as a basis for achieving environmental sustainability. The Journal of Population and Sustainability, 5(2), 97–125. https://doi.org/10.3197/jps.2021.5.2.97

Abstract

A recent article in this journal, 'Achieving a Post-Growth Green Economy', argued that a turn to post-material values by younger generations may be setting the stage for a more environmentally friendly, post-growth green global economy. To expand the foundations for the possible emergence of such an economy, the current article offers empirical evidence from the World Values Survey for the propositions that individual post-material values and experiences leads to (1) a reduction in consumption-oriented activities, (2) a shift to more environmentally friendly forms of life that include living at higher, more energy efficient urban densities, (3) having families with fewer children, and (4) greater political support for environmental improvement. Such behavioral shifts provide a foundation for a no-growth, or even a negative-growth, economy among the affluent nations of the world leading to declining rates of energy and materials throughput to the benefit of a healthier global biosphere.

References

  1. Alper, N.O., and Wassall, G.H., 2006. Artists’ careers and their labor markets', In V.A. Ginsburgh and D. Throsby, eds. 2006. Handbook of the economics of art and culture. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
  2. Alvaredo, F., Chancel, L., Piketty, T., Saez, E., and Zucman, G., 2017. Global inequality dynamics: new findings from The World Wealth and Income Database. American Economic Review, 107(5), pp.404–409.
  3. Birch, E. L. 2005. Who lives downtown? In: A. Berube, B. Katz, and R. E. Lang, eds. 2005. Redefining urban and suburban America: evidence from Census 2000. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press. pp.29–49.
  4. Birch, E. L., 2009. Downtown in the “new American city”. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 626(1), pp.134–153.
  5. Booth, D.E., 2017. Postmaterialism and support for the environment in the United States. Society and Natural Resources, 30(11), pp.1404–1420.
  6. Booth, D.E., 2018a. Postmaterial experience economics. Journal of Human Values, 24(2), pp.1–18.
  7. Booth, D.E., 2018b. Postmaterial experience economics, population, and environmental sustainability. The Journal of Population and Sustainability, 2(2), pp.33–50.
  8. Booth, D. E., 2020a. Achieving a post-growth green economy. J The Journal of Population and Sustainability, 5(1), pp.57–75.
  9. Booth, D.E., 2020b. Postmaterialism’s social-class divide: experiences and life satisfaction. Journal of Human Values, forthcoming.
  10. Brombach, K., Jessen, J., Siedentop, S., and Zakrzewski, P., 2017. Demographic patterns of reurbanisation and housing in metropolitan regions in the U.S. and Germany. Comparative Population Studies, 42, pp.281–317.
  11. Chang, C.C., and Chen, T.S., 2013. Idealism versus reality: empirical test of postmaterialism in China and Taiwan. Issues and Studies, 49(2), pp.63–102.
  12. Harari, Y.N., 2015. Sapiens: a brief history of humankind. New York: Harper Collins.
  13. Inglehart, R.F., 1971. The silent revolution in Europe: intergenerational change in post-industrial societies. American Political Science Review, 65(4), pp.991–1017.
  14. Inglehart, R.F., 2008. Changing values among western publics from 1970 to 2006. West European Politics, 31(1-2), pp.130–146.
  15. Inglehart, R.F., and Abramson, P. R., 1994. Economic security and value change. American Political Science Review, 88(2), pp.336–354.
  16. Inglehart, R.F., and Abramson, P. R., 1999. Measuring postmaterialism. American Political Science Review, 93(3), pp.665–667.
  17. Inglehart, R.F., and Norris, P., 2016. Trump, Brexit, and the rise of populism: economic have-nots and cultural backlash. HKS Working Paper No. RWP16-026. [pdf] Available at: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=11325. [Accessed 28 June 2021].
  18. Inglehart, R.F., and Welzel, C., 2005. Modernization, cultural change, and democracy: the human development sequence. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  19. Jackson, T., 2017. Prosperity without growth: foundations for the economy of tomorrow. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.
  20. Jackson, T., 2019. The post-growth challenge: secular stagnation, inequality and the limits to growth. Ecological Economics, 156, pp.236–246.
  21. Lloyd, R., 2002. Neo-bohemia: art and neighborhood redevelopment in Chicago. Journal of Urban Affairs, 24, pp.517–532.
  22. Markusen, A., 2006. Urban development and the politics of a creative class: evidence from a study of artists. Environment and Planning, 38, 1921–1940.
  23. Markusen, A., and Gadwa, A. 2010. Arts and culture in urban or regional planning: a review and research agenda. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 29(3), pp.379–391.
  24. Markusen, A., and Schrock, G., 2006. The artistic dividend: urban artistic specialisation and economic development implications. Urban Studies, 43(10), 1661–1686.
  25. New York City, 2007. Inventory of New York City greenhouse gas emissions. [pdf] Available at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc/downloads/pdf/publications/greenhousegas_2007.pdf [Accessed 28 June 2021].
  26. Newman, P., and Kenworthy, J. R., 1999. Sustainability and cities: overcoming automobile dependency. Washington DC: Island Press.
  27. Newman, P., and Kenworthy, J. R., 2015. The end of automobile dependence: how cities are moving beyond car-based planning. Washington DC: Island Press.
  28. Norris, P., and Inglehart, R., 2019. Cultural backlash: Trump, Brexit, and authoritarian populism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  29. Polzin, S. E., Chu, X., and Godrey, J., 2014. The impact of Millennials’ travel behavior on future personal vehicle travel. Energy Strategy Reviews, 5, pp.59–65.
  30. Rogers, E., and Stephenson, R., 2018. Examining temporal shifts in the proximate determinants of fertility in low- and middle-income countries. Journal of Biosocial Science, 50(4), pp.551–568.
  31. Sachs, J. 2019. Getting to a carbon-free economy. The American Prospect. [online] Available at: https://prospect.org/greennewdeal/getting-to-a-carbonfree-economy/ [Accessed 28 June 2021].
  32. Saez, E., 2009. Striking it richer: the evolution of top incomes in the United States (update with 2007 estimates). [pdf] UC Berkeley Working Paper Series. Available at: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/8dp1f91x [Accessed 28 June 2021].
  33. Stata Corporation, 2015. STATA statistics and data analysis, 14.0. [online] College Stations, Texas: Stata Corporation. Available at: https://www.stata.com [Accessed 28 June 2021].
  34. Stiglitz, J. E., 2010. Freefall: America, free markets, and the sinking of the world economy. New York: W.W. Norton.
  35. Tsai, Y.-H., 2005. Quantifying urban form: compactness versus ‘sprawl’. Urban Studies, 42(1), pp.141–161.
  36. United Nations Human Development Program, 2018. Human development reports. [online] Available at: http://hdr.undp.org/en/humandev [Accessed 28 June 2021].
  37. Victor, P. A., 2008. Managing without growth: slower by design, not disaster. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  38. Wei, M., Patadia, S., and Kammen, D. M., 2010. Putting renewables and energy efficiency to work: how many jobs can the clean energy industry generate in the U.S.? Energy Policy, 38, pp.919–931.
  39. Welzel, C., Inglehart, R. F., and Deutsch, F., 2005. Social capital, voluntary associations and collective action: which aspects of social capital have the greatest ‘civic’ payoff? Journal of Civil Society, 1(2), pp.121–146.
  40. World Bank, 2019a. Fertility rate, total (births per woman). [online] Available at: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN/ [Accessed 28 June 2021].
  41. World Bank, 2019b. Population growth (annual %). [online] Available at: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.GROW?end=2011&start=1961 [Accessed 28 June 2021].
  42. World Values Survey Association, 2015. World values survey, wave 1-wave 6. [online] Available at: https://www.worldvaluessurvey.org [Accessed 28 June 2021].
  43. World Values Survey Association, 2020. World values survey, wave 7. [online] Available at: http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSOnline.jsp [Accessed 28 June 2021].