Response to Homo Economicus

Standard

The standard of living refers to the level of goods, services, and luxuries available. Maintaining the current level of living standards is not a significant issue. The issue should be redefining the standards. For example, the current standard of living includes the level of luxury goods owned. Luxury items that drive the consumer society should not be important in outlining the success of someone’s life. It holds insignificant positive effects such as short term happiness and significant negative effects such as use of limited resources. Basic necessities are all that’s really important in a nation’s standard of living. Thus, we should buy the minimum amount of items and focus more on thought-provoking and back-to-nature practices.

I think luxury goods in specific and well-being should be separate value systems. It may take a long time to separate the two so collaborative consumption is a great idea in the meantime. It’s frightening to think of how many people buy a video game, play it, beat it, and leave it on their shelves to collect dust. If one or two people bought the video game, played it, beat it, and passed it on to someone else, landfills would take much longer to fill up. We have so many items in the world already we could just remove the consumption part and simply do the collaborative portion of this arrangement.

I think it is necessary for a developing nation to first grow its economy then stabilize its population while decreasing consumption. Everyone should gain the ability to fund their basic needs before a focus on stabilization takes place. Even if everyone isn’t rich, the population could then be stabilized and a shift to necessity consumption could be made.

http://consumerismu.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/overconsumption/

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2 responses »

  1. I really enjoyed your piece, especially this part: ” Luxury items that drive the consumer society should not be important in outlining the success of someone’s life. It holds insignificant positive effects such as short term happiness and significant negative effects such as use of limited resources. Basic necessities are all that’s really important in a nation’s standard of living.” I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I believe if the world lived with this particular mindset engrained in their life, the world could be far more sustainable. I also enjoyed your part about invoking more thought and in essence “getting closer to nature” by resorting to more natural ways of living. People in the United Sates are so focused on working and consuming so much because they believe it’s the only way they can make it in life and be happy. However, I believe this is truly wrong and the opposite of what people should be doing. People need to “be one with nature” if they truly wish to experience true happiness. With this, you don’t need a colossal house, or a beautiful car, makeup, or anything of the sort. All you truly need is togetherness, basic necessities, and as cliche as it sounds, compassion for the Earth-our home.

  2. I agreed with the majority of your post. However, I disagree with the idea that a country should grow its economy first and then stabilize its population. If the population isn’t stabilized, growing your economy will only result in more inequality, injustice, and instability in the population. Additionally, economic growth that does not require population stabilization offers a temptation to forget this idea in favor of increased economic growth.

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