Feeling down? Money might help, according to Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers. The Wharton economists released a paper arguing that countries with higher gross domestic products have happier citizens. The study shatters the conventional wisdom known as the Easterlin Paradox, which holds that GDP and happiness are largely unrelated.
Companies are paying $90,000 per second tonight to get their products before our recession-fearing eyes, and they plan to get their money’s worth. Tonight’s advertisers will use an array of tactics designed with one purpose: motivating us to buy their products.
Stores offer the steepest discounts the day before Christmas, not on Black Friday. A Boston Globe study found that the orgy of mindless early-morning consumerism is good for cutesy door prizes and savings on one or two items, but provides no discount for the vast majority of surveyed goods.
Political scientist Benjamin Barber thinks mindless spending is killing America. Barber went on Bill Moyers Journal to promote his new book Consumed, and to lambast us for being infantilized drones who drool over whatever big business shoves into our greedy little mitts.
Apparently “Supercapitalism” is making the rounds over at AlterNet, because they keep writing about it. This time there’s a good interview with the author, former labor secretary Robert Reich, and he takes the opportunity to summarize his main arguments from the book.
SF Gate columnist Mark Morford hates Black Friday, and he’s written an over-the-top Network-style screed against it, backing it up with some cringe-inducing YouTube clips of giddy, running Americans swarming into retail outlets last Friday morning.
Prepare for disappointment this holiday season because a survey from Deloitte & Touche says the average consumer is planning to spend less on fewer presents. The average New England holiday shopping budget is down 19% to $517, and the average shopper is prepared to buy only 24 gifts – which to us, still seems like a lot.
A new Harvard study shows that shoppers—at least the crazy rich ones who frequent ABC Carpet and Home in New York City (if you’ve ever been inside ABC, you know the sort of people we’re talking about)—will not only gravitate toward products labeled “fair trade” over identical but unlabeled products, but will buy even more of them when the prices are raised.
A columnist at Get Rich Slowly describes how her family learned to focus on getting the most use out of the things they purchase, rather than using them once or twice and then moving on to the next new thing. While it sounds like an obvious tip, it can be a little harder to practice in real life—but, she writes, the results can be eye-opening.
An artist in Providence, Rhode Island was apprehended the other day by mall security as he left the secret apartment he’d built almost four years ago, in an unused utility space in the mall’s parking garage. The apartment had no running water (they used mall bathrooms), but it did include “a sectional sofa and love seat, coffee and breakfast tables, chairs, lamps, rugs, paintings, a hutch filled with china, a waffle iron, TV and Sony Playstation 2,” according to the Boston Globe.
If you have kids and aren’t teaching them about money, you’re setting them up to be one of those clueless college kids with a free burrito and $12,000 in credit card debt. Don’t do it!
Christmas is threatening to swallow all the other holidays until there is nothing left! Help! This “holiday season” we’re asking our readers to document a phenomenon called “Christmas Creep.”
Earlier this month we asked our readers, are you a consumer or a citizen? It was sparked by comments from Robert B. Reich, who’s written a book called “Supercapitalism” that argues that we as consumers are in effect our own worst enemies—our collective desire to save a buck or earn more on our investments are contributing to the increasing “decline of democracy.” AlterNet has posted an excerpt from his book that expands on this idea of how we undermine our own best interests with, well, our other best interests.
The annual Islamic Society of North America convention, which was held this past weekend in Illinois, is the largest on the continent—this year approximately 40,000 people attended to take part in panel discussions and seminars. It’s also a bastion of shopping stalls offering every Muslim product imaginable, which leads the UK’s Guardian newspaper to wonder whether it has become “more about shopping than spirituality.”
Heard some interesting commentary this morning on the Leonard Lopate show by former Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich on why he thinks “super-capitalism” has outmoded democracy.
Whether or not Paho Mann’s pictorial taxonomy of all of his and his partner’s personal possessions, sortable by color, cize, material, location, owner, cost, use type, and use amount, cause you to reevaluate your personal politics of consumerism is up for debate, but it’s unquestionable that his site is neat. [Sort]