Latest Issue

Worldly wealth

Can a future population of 9bn enjoy the stuff, space and speed that is the preserve of today's rich without crippling the global environment? Despite the claims of the "austerity school," it is possible with technology only slightly more advanced than we now possess. Sometimes there really are technical fixes

By Michael Lind   July 2004

Can everyone on earth be rich? Not rich in relative terms – in a world of billionaires, millionaires would feel poor – but in terms of the lifestyle choices that today only the rich enjoy: in particular, in stuff (personal technology), space (low-density living in proximity to nature), and speed (geographic mobility). The world’s population is expected to stabilise at around 9bn and then decline. Can 9bn people enjoy stuff, space and speed?

The austerity school says no. The earth’s environment will be devastated if 9bn human beings attempt to enjoy the average standard of living of a middle-class individual…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect