Engineers have made remarkable progress in reducing the quantity of stuff needed to produce a product. An iPhone, for example weighs 1/100th and cost 1/10th as much as an Osborne Executive computer did in 1982, but it has 150 times the processing speed and 100,000 times the memory. Dematerialization is not limited to the "stuff" - - the service sector, like banking, has become less about "stuff" and more about electrons moving on a laptop.
Authors Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler cover this in a new book - - Abundance. I have not read it yet, but it has received good reviews. As we add another three billion people to the planet, dematerialization will be a huge and powerful force for our global well-being.