The Case for Compression

Why do we need to improve quality of life while drastically reducing resources?

Society faces many complex challenges that can be reduced in size and scope by doing better with less.

The case for Compression rests on no single, clinching thread of evidence. That for practical purposes the world is finite should be self-evident, yet optimistic bias in the simplest of financial formulas for compound interest presumes growth; perhaps unending growth. Presuming that a higher price will bring a greater quantity to market assumes that more can be had – somewhere, somehow. But if no more can be had at any price, a market in any conventional sense no longer is possible. That is, recognition that we live in a physically finite world turns many of our rules of economics, and for living, upside down.

We’re not in that kind of world yet, and may not be for years, but humans keep globally consuming more resources at a faster rate. Humans do not change quickly, and unless we begin to act, the consequences of this will be on us before we learn to cope. Why?

The scattering of issue headlines on a fractal image is intended to crudely illustrate that all these issues interrelate. Exactly how things will play out is not precisely predictable.  These issues have been classified in four headings in the four colored balls (finite resources, precarious environment, global pushback, excessive consumption).