This was more in reference to those who would agree with the condemnations of a consumer culture as strident as those found in “The Story Of Stuff“.
Efficiency in production: the ability to produce things using fewer pre-production resources of all types for each unit produced.
Increasing efficiency in production required a more advance production system. The advanced and efficient production system costs more money and resources, but the increased cost is off-set by the resources saved over the production life of the machinery.
Developing nations generally do not have the up-front resources to set up advanced and efficient production systems, nor the skilled labor markets to run such systems.
They must begin by producing a very inefficient product. Then as they gain money, in subsequent construction and expansion, they can afford the higher upfront cost of the increasingly more efficient productions systems, lowering their longer term costs and increasing productivity.
The issue with many current opinions today is that a high level of wealth spread across a broad, educated society is necessary for advancements in efficiency.
Many proponents of the more radical environmental causes tend to believe a more naturalistic system is superior, with people living ‘one’ with nature.
But imagine the pollution from the camp fires necessary to keep all of us warm? A modern heater in a home is vastly more efficient and less polluting per person or volume warmed than earlier systems.
At the end of the remake movie (which has been recommended highly by Orson Scott Card) the alien reduces humanity to a primitive situation, following his directive with the goal of lessening the environmental impact of humanity.
In a primitive state, the resources required to support humanity would be enormously beyond what is required today. The greater the wealth and social construct of a nation or group, the greater it’s efficiency in production and the “cleaner” it will be.
Production efficiency is a basically amoral process that each and every society goes through as part of its technological and societal progression.