Technological advances now occur at a blistering and (crucially) increasing rate. As consumers try to keep up with the latest gadgets, we will likely continue to see a rise in per capita consumption. Some companies exacerbate this phenomenon by leveraging ‘planned obsolescence’, which is discussed on page 33. Another related beneficiary of technological innovations is trade. In the following couple of pages, Sam Bacevich explores how developing countries can strike a balance between effective protectionism and embracing global competition.
The expected rise in consumerism will be environmentally unsustainable if emissions continue to be proportional to consumption. Consequently, the question remains whether imminent technological leaps can sever that linear relationship, or continue to hurt the world just as it has since the industrialization. One of our articles considers a more recent illustration of the latter: the 43 million tons of e-waste which was discarded in 2016. Finally, this year’s issue of Insight wraps by addressing how we can use policies to achieve sustainable consumption.