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A study of how materialism and consumerism undermine our quality of life.
In The High Price of Materialism, Tim Kasser offers a scientific explanation of how our contemporary culture of consumerism and materialism affects our everyday happiness and psychological health. Other writers have shown that once we have sufficient food, shelter, and clothing, further material gains do little to improve our well-being. Kasser goes beyond these findings to investigate how people's materialistic desires relate to their well-being. He shows that people whose values center on the accumulation of wealth or material possessions face a greater risk of unhappiness, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and problems with intimacy -- regardless of age, income, or culture.Drawing on a decade's worth of empirical data, Kasser examines what happens when we organize our lives around materialistic pursuits. He looks at the effects on our internal experience and interpersonal relationships, as well as on our communities and the world at large. He shows that materialistic values actually undermine our well-being, as they perpetuate feelings of insecurity, weaken the ties that bind us, and make us feel less free. Kasser not only defines the problem but proposes ways we can change ourselves, our families, and society to become less materialistic.
A study of how materialism and consumerism undermine our quality of life.
Essays that offer ecological, social, and political perspectives on the problem of overconsumption.
Madeline Levine has been a practicing psychologist for twenty-five years, but it was only recently that she began to observe a new breed of unhappy teenager. When a bright, personable fifteen-year-old girl, from a loving and financially comfortable family, came into her office with the word empty carved into her left forearm, Levine was startled. This girl and her message seemed to embody a disturbing pattern Levine had been observing. Her teenage patients were bright, socially skilled, and loved by their affluent parents. But behind a veneer of achievement and charm, many of these teens suffered severe emotional problems. What was going on? Conversations with educators and clinicians across the country as well as meticulous research confirmed Levine's suspicions that something was terribly amiss. Numerous studies show that privileged adolescents are experiencing epidemic rates of depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse -- rates that are higher than those of any other socioeconomic group of young people in this country. The various elements of a perfect storm -- materialism, pressure to achieve, perfectionism, disconnection -- are combining to create a crisis in America's culture of affluence. This culture is as unmanageable for parents -- mothers in particular -- as it is for their children. While many privileged kids project confidence and know how to make a good impression, alarming numbers lack the basic foundation of psychological development: an authentic sense of self. Even parents often miss the signs of significant emotional problems in their "star" children. In this controversial look at privileged families, Levine offers thoughtful, practical advice as she explodes one child-rearing myth after another. With empathy and candor, she identifies parenting practices that are toxic to healthy self-development and that have contributed to epidemic levels of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in the most unlikely place -- the affluent family.
Art and Value is the first comprehensive analysis of art's economics. Key debates in classical, neoclassical and Marxist theories of art are subjected to an exacting critique. The book concludes with a new Marxist theory of art's economic exceptionalism.
Most people acknowledge the profound importance of sustainability, but few can define it. We are ethically bound to live sustainably for the sake of future generations, but what does that mean? In this book Randall Curren, a philosopher, and Ellen Metzger, a scientist, clarify normative aspects of sustainability. Combining their perspectives, they propose that sustainability can be understood as the art of living well together without diminishing opportunity to live well in the future.Curren and Metzger lay out the nature and value of sustainability, survey the problems, catalog the obstacles, and identify the kind of efforts needed to overcome them. They formulate an ethic of sustainability with lessons for government, organizations, and individuals, and illustrate key ideas with three case studies. Curren and Metzger put intergenerational justice at the heart of sustainability; discuss the need for fair (as opposed to coercive) terms of cooperation to create norms, institutions, and practices conducive to sustainability; formulate a framework for a fundamental ethic of sustainability derived from core components of common morality; and emphasize the importance of sustainability education. The three illustrative case studies focus on the management of energy, water, and food systems, examining the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Australia's National Water Management System, and patterns of food production in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia.

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