from the book
"because the economy has become global, the commons now encompasses the entire planet....Quantitatively, the average US citizen consumes the same resources as ten average world citizens or twenty-five residents of india. Our continued economic development coexists in some tension with a corollary of the archetype of progress: the notion that America's cause is the cause of all humankind. Thus our economic leadership is very different from our political leadership. Politically, we can hope other nations will put in place our forms of democracy and respect for civil liberties. Economically, we can only hope other nations will never achieve our standard of living, for if they did, the earth would become a desert. economically, we are the bane, not the hope of the world. since the planet is finite, as we expand our economy we make it less likely that less developed nations can expand theirs."
now, there are some things i disagree with here. like, american democracy and civil rights should be the hope of the world. i find it difficult reading that from loewen, even, given the rest of the book and the lack of democracy and civil rights in the US. i also don't think america's cause is the cause of all humankind--never really bought into the whole manifest destiny thing, but i know most americans (unconsciously or not) do.
BUT, i do like this rebuttal to the capitalist/libertarian thinking that economic growth and commercialism will make the third world raise up to our standard of living. i mean, we've already seen it not work the last 50years or so. but here is a bit of (socialist?) theory to buttress the point.