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pile of clothes

10 reasons why the future will be less materialistic

This week I’m reading a new book by James Wallman, called Stuffocation, in which he argues that there is a cultural shift away from materialism underway. The idea that a good life is measured in possessions is slowly passing into history. I suspect he is right, and as Chris Goodall has highlighted, there is evidence […]

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Kettle chips, Coca Cola, and a cure for ebola

Yesterday I came across a new word that I can’t unsee: premiumisation. I read it in an article about Coca Cola, which is planning to move into the world of dairy with a new milk-with-bells-on called Fairlife. “It’s basically the premiumisation of milk” said company exec Sandy Douglas. It’s “a milk that’s premiumised and tastes […]

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live rich

Live Rich

Have you got room in your day for a bit of spoken word performance on consumerism and our relationship with money? I think so. This is from Gary Turk, and you can see more of his work on his website or Youtube channel. From my own perspective, I’d just add one thing to the film. […]

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Pocket money loans for kids!

There’s something new on the high street today, as the first pocket money loan shop for children opens in Finsbury Park. Or should I say Funsbury Park, since local children will no longer have to wait for all that their little hearts desire. Just pop in or get your pocket money loan online, and you […]

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myth gap

The importance of myths

Prompted by John Fosters’ book After Sustainability, I’ve been doing some reading around myths over the last few days. We usually use the word ‘myth’ to disparagingly describe something that is widely believed, but untrue. I’m interested in myths as underlying stories, broadly held understandings of the world. Myths have an important sociological function, helping […]

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Fixing gadgets with The Restart Project

One of the key ways to reduce our use of materials, and limit the amount we throw away, is to repair things. That’s particularly important in the area of electronics. They require relatively scarce metals, and electronic waste is hazardous and complicated to process, which is why a lot of it ends up in faraway […]

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Book review: Cheaponomics, by Michael Carolan

People have always been suckers for a bargain, but the pressure to deliver cheap prices has become a key driving force of our consumer economy. The prices of many things, from clothes to household appliances, have consistently fallen in recent decades. More and more of us have been able to buy the things we want […]

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Vance Packard’s consumerist utopia

You might not have heard of Vance Packard. He is not well known today, but in 1960 he wrote a book about the onset of consumerism called The Waste Makers. It describes the invention of planned obsolescence and decries the advent of a throwaway society with striking prescience. In the opening of The Waste Makers, […]

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The materialism of developing countries

Do we measure our success by what we own? That’s supposed to be one of the hallmarks of a consumer society, with material possessions giving us our status and identity. But if you ask people if they measure their success by their possessions, the vast majority of British people will say no. That’s according to […]

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Let’s not import Black Friday

Yesterday was Black Friday in America, but if don’t have to be American to have heard of it. It’s the day after Thanksgiving, a holiday for many people, and hence it has become the busiest shopping day of the year. The big stores all capitalise on this with big discounts, encouraging a buying frenzy. We’ve […]

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