Jevon’s Paradox and Why Art Can’t Save You Now

Tom Trevatt

Jevon’s Paradox states that when individuals, corporations, organisations or countries decrease their carbon emissions, they have a tendency to increase their consumption in line with what they assume they have saved, thus paradoxically, not saving anything. If applied to a cultural context, this paradox allows us to analyse how even the most ethical or political artistic practices could perform in a similar way, exacerbating rather than ameliorating the conditions they attempted to address.