Monday, August 6, 2012

Examining the Price of Consumerism

Photo by Brian Ulrich
Smithhaven, New York, 2003
For his project:
Copia: Snapshots of Consumer Culture
I had a realization tonight. My discomfort with technology doesn't have to do with the technology itself. It has to do with the messages that comes with it, and with the time that using technology takes away from our relationships and responsibilities.

It's the inundation of material messages through technology and media that causes me some of the most angst. I believe that the more advertising you see, the more unhappy you become. Marketers know that to motivate you to buy their product starts with pointing out a perceived flaw in your life. You aren't pretty enough. You're too stressed. You're why don't you treat yourself?

Kids are exposed to up to 40,000 TV advertisements a year (American Psychological Association), and they are learning how to value themselves through these emotional messages of discontent. They are learning to hold material goods in high esteem, and according to research, they are taking on more debt to pay for their "stuff."

I found an organization that seems to embody my defining values and the life that I want to create for myself and my kids. The Center for a New American Dream focuses on "the connections between consumption, quality of life, and the environment has made New Dream unique among environmental and progressive groups."

To me, refreshing.

Here is one compelling video about our material culture that is found on the New American Dream's web site. The High Price of Materialism examines "how America's culture of consumerism undermines our well-being." Watch it. Examine it. We could all learn from it.

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