Reconstructing consumerism with Skidelsky

Posted by on December 13th, 2017 | 0 comments | consumerism, economics, IELTS, interactive, konsumtif, reading, text reconstruction

  1. Think about – or better still, chat to a friend – about consumerism. Why do we love shopping so much? (Indonesian flag Indonesians check out the difference between consumeristic and consumptive!)
  2. Watch the video and listen to what Robert Skidelsky has to say about consumerism.
  3. Then attempt to reconstruct what Skidelsky says using the app below. Watch the video again if necessary!

Why are we so obsessed with economic growth? The answer is that it makes us richer, and we need more riches in order to buy more. We are a society obsessed with consumption. But in order to buy more we have to work harder. We work in order to buy. This may explain something that would otherwise seem puzzling. About 100 years ago, the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by now we’d only be working 15 hours a week. Technology would have allowed work to be replaced by leisure. Machines would make the stuff. In fact, we’re still working 40 hours a week. There are 2 main reasons why we go on working such long hours. The first is that there’s been a big increase in inequality since the 1980s. Secondly there’s the fact of human insatiability. We are always comparing our fortunes with those of others and finding them wanting. And advertising whips up this desire to consume more and more into a self-destructive frenzy. We are invited to find our souls in our shops. Surveys have shown that more wealth, more stuff, does not make us any happier. I believe there are certain basic goods, like health, security, friendship, personality, respect, harmony with nature, leisure, which most people would accept as being part of the good life. It is only by restoring the concept of “enoughness” to our moral vocabulary, that we can hope to get off the growth treadmill, and start thinking about how to live wisely, agreeably, and well.

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