Four New Books Explore American Consumption

by Dave   |   July 9, 2009

It is always nice when someone else does my work for me. I was scanning the web today, trolling for stories, when I came across an entry by Sarah Kessler on the Sierra Club website—a review of four new books on consumption issues. Together, these four books (listed in parenthesis below) seem to capture a good deal of New Dream’s message, that:

    • We can’t overconsume our way back to economic health.  We must look to new, sustainable economic models that account for the environment and social justice (Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole, by Benjamin R. Barber),
    • We would be well advised to focus on more on what matters in life, not just more (The Secret of Shelter Island: Money and What Matters, by Alexander Green),
    • An American Dream focused on stuff and housed in oversized boxes at the end of lonely cul de sacs is an ecological and social nightmare (The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream, by John Wasik), and
    • Consumer rights shouldn’t be about the right to everything right now.  With rights come responsibilities, and for good or ill, consumer choices do have an impact (Prosperity For All:  Consumer Activism in an Era of Globalization, by Matthew Hilton). 

While I can't vouch for the authors' conclusions (and may even have twisted their story lines with my secondhand summaries), I’m intrigued.  Check out Sarah Kessler’s reviews.