« QuickTime | Main | Dooced »

The High Price of Materialism

I've been referring to this a bit lately, but The High Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser is a great book. As I previously mentioned John highly recommended it. I agree. This is a must read book if you are at all interested in the effect of materialism or really the effect of commercialism and/or capitalism. The basic theory throughout the book is that the pursuit of wealth and possessions might actually be undermining our well-being [9].

The author walks through various aspects of peoples lives and how materialism can have a negative impact on each of them. These include: self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feelings [6-7]. The causes of this condition are varied but include issues such one's environmental circumstances such that an environment that fails to provide security and safety increases the tendency for materialistic tendencies [37]. This materialistic pursuit then leads to bad relationships and feelings of insecurity, among others [73].

The book ends with the author's view about what can be done to combat this problem at an individual, family, community, and global scale. One of the key pieces of advice is to focus on autonomous activities, those that are done for their own sake instead of driven by an outside force [76].

While I believe that I don't suffer from sever materialism I can easily point to various aspects of my life that are indicative of it. One of the key ideas I'd encourage everyone to do is practice Living Below Your Means.

I'm also very happy to be writing this little synopsis as this is the first book I've actually managed to finish reading in many months. Now to do that with a bunch more books.