On two occasions this week Asia Society will be hosting Chandran Nair, Founder and CEO of the Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT), for an author talk in which he shares his ideas about constraining consumption. Nair appears at Asia Society Texas Center, in Houston, for a lunch discussion tomorrow, November 15, and in New York for an evening presentation on Wednesday, November 16. (For those who can't attend in person, the latter event will also be a free live video webcast on AsiaSociety.org.)
Nair is touring behind his new book, Consumptionomics: Asia's Role in Reshaping Capitalism and Saving the Planet, in which he urges governments, business leaders and academics to think about a sustainable approach to development in Asia. "Asia has the potential to reshape capitalism and create a new economic model for the 21st century — one that is genuinely sustainable," he writes.
The book is the result of Nair's nearly 20-year interest in global climate change and the economic, political and social changes that he sees as essential for a sustainable future. In the aftermath of the global economic crisis and the growing concern for environmental conservation, Nair argues that the Western model of consumption-led growth cannot be replicated in Asia. Instead, he believes that the conventional view of encouraging Asia to consume more while keeping carbon emissions to a minimum needs to be replaced by a more rational approach.
As part of that approach, Nair argues that governments should focus on using policy to target the larger public good rather than keeping a narrow focus on economic growth. He touched on these and other concerns in an appearance at Asia Society India Center earlier this fall. Watch an excerpt from that appearance below (4 min., 11 sec.):