Since the Industrial Revolution, our economies have been running on a model in which resources are turned into products that are thrown away after they’re no longer useful – a linear model that is based on the supposition that resources are abundantly available, easy to get, and can be cheaply thrown away. But this model has reached its limits.
The global middle class is expected to increase by three billion people in the coming decades. China and India, for example, will double their income per capita 10 times as fast for 200 times as many residents than England did during the Industrial Revolution. So, the demand for resources will only continue to grow at a time in which finding and extracting new resources will be growing increasingly more difficult. The direct consequence is that resource prices will fluctuate significantly. In the long term, certain crucial, raw resources will probably become scarce and expensive. And we haven’t even covered the environmental impact of the extraction. This makes everything about our traditionally linear lifestyle unsustainable.