and systems that reduce material use in manufacturing and in reducing the costs of operating and maintaining the goods in use.
THE PROBLEM OF OVERSUPPLY
The economies of industrialized countries are characterized by several key factors (Giarini and Stahel, 1989/1993):
Their populations account for only 20 percent of the world population but for 80 percent of world resource consumption.
Their markets for goods are saturated and the stocks of goods represent a huge storage of resources. For built infrastructures, there is also an increasing financial burden with regard to operation and maintenance costs.
Their economies suffer from oversupply, which indicates that the old remedy of a higher economy of scale (centralization of production to reduce manufacturing costs) can no longer solve the economic problems or the sustainability issue. The reason for this is that the cost of the services that are instrumental for production are a multiple of the pure manufacturing costs; a further optimization of production therefore does not make economic sense.
Incremental technical progress is faster than product development; substituting new products for existing ones will increasingly restrain technological progress compared with the alternative of a faster technological upgrading of existing goods.