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In
economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interact ...

economics
, dematerialization refers to the absolute or relative reduction in the quantity of materials required to serve economic functions in society. In common terms, dematerialization means doing more with less. This concept is similar to
ephemeralizationEphemeralization, a term coined by R. Buckminster Fuller in 1938, is the ability of technological advancement to do "more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing," that is, an accelerating increase in the effi ...
as proposed by
Buckminster Fuller Richard Buckminster Fuller (; July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist. He styled his name as R. Buckminster Fuller in his writings, publishing more than 30 book ...
. In 1972, the Club of Rome in its report
The Limits to Growth ''The Limits to Growth'' (''LTG'') is a 1972 report on the exponential Economic growth, economic and population growth with a finite supply of resources, studied by computer simulation. The study used the World3 computer model to simulate the c ...
predicted a steadily increasing demand for material as both economies and populations grew. The report predicted that continually increasing resource demand would eventually lead to an abrupt economic collapse. Studies on material use and economic growth show instead that society is gaining the same economic growth with much less physical material required. Between 1977 and 2001, the amount of material required to meet all needs of
Americans Americans are the citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recogn ...

Americans
fell from 1.18 trillion pounds to 1.08 trillion pounds, even though the country's population increased by 55 million people.
Al Gore Albert Arnold Gore Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Gore was Bill Clinton's running mate in their Bill Clinton presidential ...

Al Gore
similarly noted in 1999 that since 1949, while the economy tripled, the weight of goods produced did not change. By most measures, quality of life improved from 1977 to 2001. While consumer demand is constantly increasing, consumers demand services such as communication, heating and housing, and not the raw materials needed to provide these. As a result, there is incentives to provide these with less materials.
Copper wire Copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and electrical conduct ...
has been replaced with fiber-optics,
vinyl records A phonograph disc record (also known as a gramophone disc record, especially in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language va ...

vinyl records
with
MP3 players An MP3 player is an electronic device that can play MP3 digital audio Digital audio is a representation of sound recorded in, or converted into, Digital signal (signal processing), digital form. In digital audio, the sound wave of the audi ...
while
car A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, in some areas almost outnumbering regular bicycles A motor vehicle, also k ...

car
s,
refrigerator A refrigerator (colloquially fridge) is a commercial and home appliance A home appliance, also referred to as a domestic appliance, an electric appliance or a household appliance, is a machine which assists in household A household co ...

refrigerator
s and numerous other items have gotten lighter.


See also


References

Environmental economics {{econ-term-stub