Author Topic: The High Price of Materialism  (Read 2751 times)

Offline tomtom

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The High Price of Materialism
« on: March 27, 2012, 06:46:34 PM »
I liked this video and was surprised friends who are on both sides of the spectrum did too. I figured it may be nice to see on the forum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oGab38pKscw

Quote
More at http://www.newdream.org
Produced by the Center for a New American Dream

Psychologist Tim Kasser discusses how America's culture of consumerism undermines our well-being. When people buy into the ever-present marketing messages that "the good life" is "the goods life," they not only use up Earth's limited resources, but they are less happy and less inclined toward helping others. The animation both lays out the problems of excess materialism and points toward solutions that promise a healthier, more just, and more sustainable life.

Offline Cedar

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Re: The High Price of Materialism
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 07:13:01 PM »
Thanks for posting it.

Cedar

Offline blueyedmule

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Re: The High Price of Materialism
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2012, 04:46:58 AM »
I find Jack's view of the good life to be remarkably oriented towards the Aristotelian view of the good life which was much less a view of how easy or hard your life is, and much more how fulfilled your life is, and how much you've reached your potential to be truly a good person as Aristotle would have measured good. Likewise, Catholic Distributism and Jack's view of the good life have much in common.

Materialism is nothing but a trap.

Offline BillyS

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Re: The High Price of Materialism
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2012, 10:19:06 AM »
I have a hard time with messages like this because I both agree and disagree pretty fiercely. I think it's a very simplistic way to look at things, although it is good food for thought. Here's the problem:

First of all, they are right. Materialism is false, giving one hope that they can buy fulfillment at the mall and that is very bad because it's not possible. It's old people humping their retirement into slot machines. They are only buying hope but the hope isn't real.

However, success is defined differently by each individual. For me, success is freedom to do what I want and every mechanism in my life is working toward paying off the house, getting more self-reliant and self-sufficient, and doing what it takes to generate the capital to make that dream happen faster. I wrote about it here: http://www.hatsandguns.com/kill-the-batman/

So, I'm working the corporate job, running the rat race, what have you so that in a measureable amount of time, I don't have to any more.

I also eventually want a boat. But we'll get to that in a second..

My first several jobs didn't have much freedom. I was young and needed money, the structure and schedule were rigid and I had to comply and put up with all the bullshit because if i didn't, I'd lose the mechanism for keeping my home and vehicle. Let's call it basic survival.

Over the last 20 years I've upgraded career and pay grade substantially and along the way I've socked cash away as insurance that if something went wrong, I was prepared. It's a rainy day fund and it's the first place I look when something I "need" comes up if it's not planned for well in advance.

But more importantly, each upgrade in career was less rigid, giving me more freedom to enjoy daily life and plan things around evenings, weekends, holidays, and vacations. And as a matter of course, I'm also able to afford nice things that maybe catch my fancy. I have money for things I might want, and it's very nice. It's not materialism to me because my happiness isn't defined by a new gun or table saw, but I gots the cash if I decide to get saucy on a Sunday.

Videos like this make people like me reflect and wonder if I shouldn't go for a walk later if it's not raining.

But people like me a very, VERY small minority.

Videos like this also cause envy. They make 20-years-ago me who is struggling 16 hours a day to repair a constantly broken vehicle that I only drive from the ghetto to work and back because I can't afford gas to go anywhere else... they make him angry. They make him disparage all the soccer moms with Coach purses and the preppy kids with Polo shirts as materialistic automatons who have no idea what it's like to struggle for ramen. If they were just forced to live my life for a day they'd know what it's like to pull happiness out of the ether instead of a wallet. Damn rich kids... Someone oughtta make a law.

That is the attitude of people without hope, people that cannot forsee a time when buying a boat is even a remote possibility. That is an attitude that is very prevalent in a large part of the world and is very dangerous. Videos like this just reinforce the idea that those who have, by whatever mechanism they came by their having, really shouldn't have it. And even the pursuit is an exercise in selfish futility. Billy wanting a boat is bad for the environment somehow and it will not make him happy.

They're right- the boat won't make me happy. I'm already happy. A boat will just allow me to have more fun at the lake.

Offline bigbear

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Re: The High Price of Materialism
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2012, 08:13:52 PM »
Good clip.

BillyS - I agree that materialism is a false hope/identity.  I didn't take the clip to be directed at someone who wants a boat to enjoy it.  But at someone who wants a boat because that's the cool thing or status thing to do.  I wish they would have had some angle about stress levels and unhappiness as it relates to those who really can't afford, say, a boat but get one anyway with a loan.

The one problem I had with the clip was it provided solutions through the same lens that materialism uses:  namely feelings.  We are a nation of 'feelers' not 'thinkers.'  The focus was "how do you feel about xyz?" vs "what do you think about xyz?"

Offline libertyzeal

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Re: The High Price of Materialism
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2012, 05:57:52 PM »
I really didn't like this video, because it had a very socialistic, anti-capitalist slant. 

It advocated using internet ad-blockers which is a form of theft (Seen the TSP homepage recently?).   It also said we should push for "broader social changes", and advocated government policies from countries like France designed to combat consumerism.  That's nothing but state-sponsored progressivism.  Do we really want governments to try and craft our opinons about how we should value things or spend our money. 

The one thing I did like about this video was the idea that basing your self-worth on buying useless crap is probably not a route to a happy life.  But I'm not ignorant, I think most people can figure that on their own without citing the results of a nameless scientific panel.

Just my 2 cents..  this did provoke though, so thanks to the OP for sharing.