I am somewhat allied to Cog's unusual position. I will earn the ire of many and be accused of being elitist but if I honestly look at the consumption habits of the average uneducated middle class citizen on the planet we would be much better off with greater disparity of wealth, in fact continuing the trend of the disenfranchisement of the middle class as we have witnessed during the past 30 years.
If we had high consumption individuals down to a small percentage of elites and then kept the rest of humanity in serfdom we would alleviate many of the resource constraints along with climate change.
I have to agree with Cog.
The other reason of course is that the vast majority of high consumption middle class citizens are hypocrites when it comes to their willingness to actually sacrifice their high consumption life styles in the name of real conservation.
The trend is clear whether it be education, healthcare, income, disposable income. We are heading exactly where we need to go in reference to keeping our global population one day within carrying capacity. The increasing disparity of wealth is one of the biggest mitigating forces in helping us achieve this.
The catch is that the global economy is capitalist and involves competition, which means it is not exactly based on "serfdom." Rather, both the rich and "high consumption middle class citizens" require increasing sales of goods and services in ever-expanding consumer markets to ensure better profits and returns on investments, and that means a growing global middle class:
Thus, what you are imagining is not capitalism but feudalism. The latter was usurped by capitalism as "nobility" backed by private armies to control peasants was replaced by burghers backed by the State and workers that vote for officials.
Finally, feudalism will return given limits to growth, but in a way that most don't expect.