Measuring the Ecological Impact of the Wealthy: Excessive Consumption, Ecological Disorganization, Green Crime, and Justice

Michael J. Lynch*, Michael A. Long, Paul Stretesky, Kimberly L. Barrett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Ecological disorganization stemming from conspicuous consumption practices is understudied in the social sciences. In this analysis, we study conspicuous consumption and its implications for environmental sociology, ecological footprint analysis, and green criminology. We examine the issue of conspicuous consumption through the study of items that increase the ecological footprint considerably, that is, through the consumption of “luxury commodities.” Specifically, we draw attention to assessing aspects of ecological footprints of super yachts, super homes, luxury vehicles, and private jets. Taken together, the construction and use of these items in the United States alone is likely to create a CO2 footprint that exceeds those from entire nations. These results are not necessarily surprising but suggest that excessive consumption practices of the wealthy may need to be reinterpreted as criminal when they disrupt the normal regeneration and reproduction of ecosystems by generating excessive ecological disorganization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-395
JournalSocial Currents
Volume6
Issue number4
Early online date15 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

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