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Crap We Don’t Need: Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation.

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Presentation on theme: "Crap We Don’t Need: Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Crap We Don’t Need: Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation

2 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 1.0 Work & Leisure – Establishing The Connection 2.0 Consumerism 2.1 Impacts: Environment 2.2 Impacts: Social/ Individual The Limits of Consumption: Financial The Limits of Consumption: Spiritual/Psychological 3.0 Consumption and Alienation

3 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 1.0 Work & Leisure – Establishing The Connection We have examined changing relationship between work and leisure in Post-Fordist era

4 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism “Each day men sell little pieces of themselves in order to try to buy them back each night and weekend with the coin of fun.” -- C. Wright Mills “Compensatory Leisure Thesis” “Compensatory Leisure Thesis”

5 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism Where did “Consumer Society” come from? rose with capitalism’s “Golden Age,” post—1945 rose with capitalism’s “Golden Age,” post—1945 Fordist Compromise results in large section of population for first time ever having disposable income; but isolated mainly to 1 st World Fordist Compromise results in large section of population for first time ever having disposable income; but isolated mainly to 1 st World their demand comprises a mass consumer market their demand comprises a mass consumer market

6 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism How much do we consume? global consumption expenditures have quadrupled over the past 40 years global consumption expenditures have quadrupled over the past 40 years geographic component: only 12% of the worlds total population live in Europe and North America, but they account for over 60% of global consumer spending -- contrast this to Sub-Saharan Africa where 11% of the worlds population consume 1/50 th of that amount). geographic component: only 12% of the worlds total population live in Europe and North America, but they account for over 60% of global consumer spending -- contrast this to Sub-Saharan Africa where 11% of the worlds population consume 1/50 th of that amount).

7 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism Why do we consume? at base, for shelter. But in an affluent society like ours idea of “what we need” goes beyond simple survival at base, for shelter. But in an affluent society like ours idea of “what we need” goes beyond simple survival “how much we need” is constructed in relation to others in our society “how much we need” is constructed in relation to others in our society

8 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism Why do we consume? Juliet Schor: we’ve gone from “keeping up with the Joneses” (Post WWII society) to “keeping up with the Trumps” (Post-Fordist Society) This has created… The New Consumerism – shift from horizontal to vertical emulation

9 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism Why do we consume? Juliet Schor  factors leading to the New Consumerism 1. Changing distribution of income and wealth 2. Increasing role of the media 3. Entry of women into wage-earning workforce

10 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism Traditional Views – Religion -- Islam “It is difficult for a man laden with riches to climb the steep path that leads to bliss.” “It is difficult for a man laden with riches to climb the steep path that leads to bliss.” “Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods, but from a contented mind.”

11 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism Traditional Views – Religion -- Hinduism “When you have the golden gift of contentment, you have everything.”

12 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism Traditional Views – Religion -- Christianity “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

13 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism 2.2 Impacts: Environment World Wildlife Fund (estimate)  over past years ecosystem damage has resulted in about a 30% loss of the basic resources needed to sustain life on this planet

14 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism 2.2 Impacts: Social/ Individual

15 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism 2.2 Impacts: Social/ Individual The Limits of Consumption: Financial – debt-to-income ratio rose from 55% to 97% in Canada and per capita debt doubled – debt-to-income ratio rose from 55% to 97% in Canada and per capita debt doubled percentage of households “out-spending” their income: 39% (1982)  47% (2001) percentage of households “out-spending” their income: 39% (1982)  47% (2001) saving rates plummeting around industrialized world saving rates plummeting around industrialized world

16 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism 2.2 Impacts: Social/ Individual The Limits of Consumption: Financial Credit Card Debt ! “Frontline: The Secret Life of the Credit Card” Available in streaming -- click on Part 2: “A Closer Look at the Industry’s Best Customers” (12 minutes)

17 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism 2.2 Impacts: Social/ Individual The Limits of Consumption: Spiritual/Psychological One recent psychological study found that individuals who placed a high value on financial success and the acquisition of material goods reported lower levels of overall happiness than those that didn’t – interestingly, they also reported higher rates of depression, anxiety and antisocial behaviours, relationship breakdowns, substance abuse problems, and numbers of physical ailments.

18 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 2.0 Consumerism 2.2 Impacts: Social/ Individual The Limits of Consumption: Spiritual/Psychological Worldwatch Institute click on: Gary Gardner, “Rethinking the Good Life”. Streaming video

19 Work, Leisure, Consumption and Alienation 3.0 Consumption and Alienation endless scramble to obtain material possessions and status actually frustrates individual attainment of personal autonomy endless scramble to obtain material possessions and status actually frustrates individual attainment of personal autonomy gets in the way of individual’s ability to engage in creative and self-directed activities gets in the way of individual’s ability to engage in creative and self-directed activities interferes with the development of strong and supportive social relationships interferes with the development of strong and supportive social relationships with millions of people sharing this very common social experience, the alienation of consumerism becomes a social condition with millions of people sharing this very common social experience, the alienation of consumerism becomes a social condition


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