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?
This new world is coming, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. We must accept the fact that there will never again be enough jobs for those who seek them.
I'm all for the separation of church and state, but there's one serious repercussion of this separation that may be our undoing.
Consumption is an ugly word for a beautiful concept.
Consumer society does not simply reflect our desire to have good things. It is a pathological parasite on that desire.
The dominant idea today is that money spent on frivolous luxuries should have been redistributed to those in need. This assumes that what the poor need most is money, and that we can create justice and opportunity by moving money around.
What if doing well and doing good were a seamless reality? What if personal convictions were integrally woven into public practices?
After observing people like Karla, I've come to ask a different question: What do my low-income brothers and sisters really want?
The restoration of right relationships through an understanding of the moral dimensions of life must be at the heart of any efforts to deal with conspicuous consumption and hopelessness.
The complaints of the rich may sound out of touch, but that doesn’t mean the underlying problems aren’t real.
We can build a fair society through naturalism and pragmatism.
Rebecca Todd Peters
The statistics portray a troubling moral crisis in our world. How is it possible that so few have so much, when so many have so little?
Charges of consumerism and materialism tend to overlook two basic problems.
If we look at our patterns of consumption in the United States, our over-consumption of one product in particular becomes especially troubling.
Rebecca Todd Peters
Swiffers represent all that is disordered about US American consumerism.