All the conditions necessary for the creation of a turbo-consuming society were in place. We had been living beyond our means, in debt beyond our ability to pay, in the naïve and hopeless belief that this would be the first bubble that would never burst. The problem began when Margaret Thatcher accepted the free market dogma of Friedrich Von Hayek and other thinkers, and rolled back the state. He praises , ethical shopping, and calls for restrictions on advertising like the ones in. Financial services were deregulated and easy access to credit was opened up by the relaxing of lending constraints.
To pay for the ever-increasing lists of must-have purchases we work the longest hours in Europe, 301 more than the French per year. The more ice that dissolves, the more methane gas is released — and the warmer it gets. Now it was consumers who mattered. Definitely a must read for everyone, for all of us or at least a large percentage of us are unknowing turbo-consumers. But this is never the choice presented to us. While not quite Bacchanalian, the excessess of the noughties crowd Neal Lawson's new book on consumerism. That is the first — and surely the most important — of the powerful concerns that Lawson puts in a long chapter on the consequences of turbo-consumerism.
In the past 60 years, productivity per worker has doubled. The goal is to change the soul. We allowed ourselves to drift into the comatose life of the turbo-consumer. Offering everyday ways to start kicking the habit, Neal Lawson shows us how to put the basket down for good, and why we'll be happier for it. If you're a shopping addict, with a huge credit debt, this book could perhaps enlighten you, and shed light on the environ Great book, insightful and educational.
We are no longer buying the things we need to live, but living to buy things we don't need. They cannot buy so, in a consumer society, they have no purpose. The more aggressive consumerism becomes, the more isolated we are from each other. We have become caught up in the social disease of luxury fever and are restless souls, endlessly trying to ape our celebrity heroes, their lifestyles and spending patterns. Lawson goes on to express the familiar concern that China, India and other fast-developing countries seek to copy our level of consumption. But were rich times really happy times? That sense of frustration means that the strength of the book is also its biggest weakness.
As prices rose, £246 billion of this equity wealth has been withdrawn in the last ten years to buy new cars, holidays and home improvements. It came about as scarcity of things to eat, wear and enjoy changed to abundance and therefore gave us choice. In that time our consuming addiction raced away with us — gratification could no longer be deferred: it had to be instant. It was meant as a call to take a unique opportunity for change, and now reads like a testament to a missed opportunity. He writes regularly for the Guardian and the New Statesman. We defined ourselves by it.
But in the second half of the 20th century we began to identify ourselves and others by what we consumed in the broadest sense of how we spent our earnings — and what we could borrow. We have it and they want it. He celebrates the , maximum and living wages, and — all solutions that have featured on the blog here. This text was posted on 10 August 2009 and amended on 1 February 2010. With finances in flux, now is our chance to break this all-consuming cycle. There is much else in this book, but here I have given an indication of the extent to which it mirrors the concerns and ideas of this website and expresses them with evidence and eloquence. But it wasn't just celebrities and bankers wanting to spend, spend, spend.
Everyone should read his book. Consuming applies to everything we buy: clothes, cars, food, holidays, escape, relaxation, support, care, health, education, even love. Seemingly threaded together from cuttings and reports, it has few human talking heads and they have only cameos. The rapid rise of house prices from the early 1990s was one of the biggest drives of the consumer boom. Reading it in the middle of the recession would have been much more powerful than reading it afterwards. Perhaps his chairmanship of the Brownite presure group Compass explains why Lawson is not more critical of Labour for accepting a modified Thatcherism, rather than forging a happier politics based on family, friends, community and environment. We needed something to worship and something to believe in and had long since swapped God for Gucci.
One good take away: earning more doesn't necessary make you happier, shopping doesn't necessarily give you a satisfaction that last; happiness that last can be derived from elsewhere but it doesn't come from shopping. A good life of caring, playing, dreaming, thinking, creating and feeling — not just consuming. Now the cash has dried up and we've consumed our way to financial disaster. His recent publications include Downfall: on the future of Labour and New Times with Indra Adnan. The consumer culture is unsustainable, socially, economically and environmentally. And that was before it crashed down all around us.
But were rich times really happy times? Someone else has always got more, and that makes us miserable. We stopped comparing ourselves with the Joneses and attempted to match up to the Beckhams. One image of success, of happiness and what it means to be human now dominates our globe. In the past he worked as a trade union researcher, an advisor to Gordon Brown and ran a communications company. This approach to consuming is extending into traditionally non-commercial areas, like the dating experts employed by stressed executives to source long-term partners.