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Consumerism Gone Wild and the Disparities of Wealth

Many historians trace the rise of consumerism as a way of life to 19th-century changes in capitalist theory. One example is Thorstein Veblen's "Conspicuous Consumption" argument, which suggests that wealth can create addictions to material goods and pleasurable experiences in ways that erode the common good.

Clearly we are in an age of wasteful consumption among the wealthy, and increasing hopelessness among the poor. The gap is increasing, and there seem to be few solutions in sight. What personal, community, and governmental practices might bring some relief to this crisis, and how do religious traditions have a role to play? Has consumerism become a religion?

Featured Panelists

Previously in the Public Square

What Do I Really Believe?

In this series, we ask what people really believe about some of the big questions: What really happens when we die? Does prayer really make a difference? Does it really matter how we act in this life?

Side-by-Side Religion Comparison Tool

The Side by Side Lens allows you to create an easy to read comparison chart for up to three differing religious traditions.

Why I Am a ...

Our diverse and faithful contributors answer the question "Why I am a ......." in 200 words or less with compelling summaries on why they follow their particular faith tradition. Enjoy the varying perspectives from this fascinating group.

World Religions: An Introduction to Five Major Traditions

Introduce your students to basic information about the world's largest religions - their origins, history, beliefs, and practices. Use this guide to Patheos' resources as you plan a learning unit around world religions.

Future of Religion: A Symposium

Across the globe, religion remains an influential force, one that impacts how we view ourselves, each other, and the world around us. As new forms of worship and belief continue to evolve in the 21st century, we asked thought leaders from a variety of religious traditions to talk about the future of religion.

Editors' Picks