Through the 1960s, the world’s ideality barely changed from one year to the next, yet the Gross World Product and consumption (measured by the global ecological footprint) increased an average of five percent per year. By 1990, GWP was adding three percent per year and consumption was adding one percent per year, while ideality was still hardly changing. Now, GWP and consumption are both increasing at three percent per year while ideality remains effectively constant from one year to the next. From 1965 to 2005, GWP increased a total of 315 percent, consumption increased by 186 percent, and ideality decreased by four percent.
What has the world been paying for? From the viewpoint of happiness and life expectancy, our economic activity has been wasted and somewhat counterproductive. If we believed we were contributing to a better life, we were dishonest with ourselves or misled (an observation corroborated by the increase in ignorance indicated by the adjusted power measure).