How much further should the affluent world push its materialconsumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolutedecline in demand for materials? These and many otherquestions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World:Materials and Dematerialization.
Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependenton unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficientproduction processes and the highest practical rates of recyclingmay not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that wouldbe high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generatedby continuing population growth and rising standards of living.This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potentialfor substantial dematerialization of modern economies.
Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerializationconsiders the principal materials used throughout history, fromwood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics and silicon,describing their extraction and production as well as theirdominant applications. The evolving productivities of materialextraction, processing, synthesis, finishing and distribution, andthe energy costs and environmental impact of rising materialconsumption are examined in detail. The book concludes with anoutlook for the future, discussing the prospects fordematerialization and potential constrains on materials.
This interdisciplinary text provides useful perspectives forreaders with backgrounds including resource economics,environmental studies, energy analysis, mineral geology, industrialorganization, manufacturing and material science.