“Our personal consumer choices have ecological, social and spiritual consequences. It is time to re-examine some of our deeply held notions that underlie our lifestyles.” ~ David Suzuki, Environmental Activist
It is estimated that Maui County imports 85-90 percent of all consumer goods.
Compared with Americans in 1957, today we own twice as many cars per person, eat out twice as often and enjoy endless other commodities that weren’t around then — big screen TVs, microwave ovens, SUVs and handheld wireless devices, to name a few. But are we any happier?
In “The High Price of Materialism” Tim Kasser, PhD, describes his and others’ research showing that when people organize their lives around extrinsic goals such as product acquisition, they report greater unhappiness in relationships, poorer moods and more psychological problems.
Kasser distinguishes extrinsic goals — which tend to focus on possessions, image, status and receiving rewards and praise — from intrinsic ones which aim at outcomes like personal growth and community connection and are satisfying in and of themselves.
“Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can?” ~John Lennon
Even if some materialists swim through life with little distress, however, consumerism carries larger costs that are worth worrying about. “There are consequences of materialism that can affect the quality of other people’s and other species’ lives,” says Kasser.
“Unlike religion, which promised paradise after death, advertising promised paradise right around the next corner: through purchase of a new car, a suburban home or a labor-saving appliance. Consumer goods had become the new opiate of the people.” ~ Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter