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Perhaps We Should Stop Spending Money We Don't Have On Things We Don't Need Just to Create Impressions That Won't Last On People We Don't Care About

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Tim Jackson, a sustainability expert who studies sociology and economics, paints a bleak picture of the economic cycle, throwing a new light on consumerism. As he explains in this Ted Talk (see below), our economy is locked to a social system in which status is represented by things. And because we naturally seek status, we have an insatiable appetite for material goods.

When Adam Smith spoke of  "living a life without shame," Jackson says, he was referring to one's ability to climb out of poverty. Today, living without shame means accumulating cars, clothes, electronics, etc., even when we can't afford them. And now, if we were to stop consuming, the whole economic system would come crashing down.

To sum it up: "It's a story about us spending money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about."

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.