Consumer Behavior and Energy Policy: An International Perspective

By Eric Monnier; George Gaskell et al. | Go to book overview

instance, within certain governmental systems. It entails social learning and social movement. It is pedagogic, representing at times a vision of society, a philosophy of life. It could become a long-term, sustainable view, corresponding to the concept of a "sustainable society" ( Brown et al., 1985; Gever et al., 1986). This is also the energy challenge, and the broader challenge of rethinking our relationship to Nature and to ourselves.


NOTES
1.
The results of conservation efforts have been very modest, although the few bright spots of success should not be ignored (see Schipper et al., this volume). However, the statistical analyses that suggest increased efficiency in energy use, in that the direct relationship between energy input and GNP output has decreased, are open to question. Cleveland et al., ( 1984) have shown that while there may be such a trend if one aggregates different energy forms, this may mask a shift to higher quality energy forms.
2.
Tryon pointed out some 60 years ago ( 1927, p. 271): "Anything as important in industrial life as power deserves more attention than it has yet received from economist. . . . A theory of production that will explain how wealth is produced must analyze the contributions of this element energy."
3.
Studies in Sweden on energy content of products and services consumed show that transport (private automobiles), housing, and vacation homes are major end- consumption items with high energy content ( Diczfalusy 1976). Moreover, transport, fuel, and lighting as well as food, leisure-time cabins, charter-trips, boats, and housing vary very substantially with income levels. Certainly consumers and the general public do not know about such things. As Joerges ( 1981) has pointed out:

Consumers in general and marginal consumers in particular are for various reasons not well informed about the (household) economic consequences of rising energy costs, of the mechanisms governing energy pricing in the energy supply and distribution industries, and of the cost implications (for them) of various alternatives to their energy end-use management problems.

4.
Consumer organizations have organizational cultures and strategies, concentrating on improving buyer efficiency

-71-

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