Date of Graduation

Summer 5-21-2022

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

Brian Dempster


The world economy entered the age of high mass consumption as early as the 1920s.1 Consumption has heavily influenced economic growth; thus, consumerism has become a trend worldwide. With modern financial crises being successfully overcome by increased government spending and the stimulus of consumption, the dependence of economic growth on these factors has been reinforced. Nevertheless, each government has a dilemma. On one hand, they launch stimulus policies to encourage consumption; on the other hand, the international community has made little progress in emission reduction caused by economic growth. Faced with this impasse and paradox, few scholars address the situation bluntly or fully. This paper analyzes how consumerism reshaped post-modern society, negatively impacting the environment while positively impacting the economy. Looking at China as a case study, This research looks at the intersection of economics, consumer behaviors, and climate change. By situating China within a global perspective, we can see how consumption simultaneously and problematically drives economic growth and carbon emissions; while it is challenging to mitigate the direct and indirect impacts of environmental harm, it is crucial we do so. But how do we maintain economic stability while not harming the environment? There is no good answer to the intractable question. So we must act now and reduce carbon emissions by adopting lifestyles that provide low-cost solutions along with governmental intervention and technical innovation.