“Stuff, status, and happiness”

On page 31 of Early Retirement Extreme, Jacob Fisker writes (emphasis mine),

In a world where automation has eliminated pride in workmanship from the products and nobody as time for much else than work, status is based on acquisition and accumulation.  The purchase and consumption of products has become a surrogate for creating and doing.  Self-worth and status, then, are not about intrinsic values such as who you are, what you can do, or what you know, they’re about extrinsic values like what you can buy, the car you drive, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home, and the rice tags on your clothes.

And later,

Having substituted consumption for creativity and technical skills, shopping becomes a form of self-actualization…’retail therapy’ becomes an active way of feeling good.

When I was young I felt angst because we lived in a small house.  I shared a bedroom and I was embarrassed by the lack of space and privacy.  I sense that acquisition and accumulation of rooms, furnishings, a nice TV, etc. had something to do with being appealing to my friends, with being respected as a family.

RetailTherapyHave you noticed on Facebook the number of brand pages we’re encouraged to Like?  Or how about the number of people who describe themselves as addicted to Starbucks, Ugg boots, or Ray-Bans?

How many people do you know and hear who say, “I haven’t been shopping in weeks.”  Or, “I really need to go shopping, I don’t have anything to wear.”  To this day I get insecure about the quality and price of my clothes.  Even though I believe in buying second-hand and having few and simple clothes, sometimes I compare and despair.

What do you think about what Fisker wrote?

More thoughts on Fisker here and here.

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About Eva

I make your online business project better. I write about careers, being, productivity, and money.
This entry was posted in Consuming, I'm Reading, Products. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Stuff, status, and happiness”

  1. Pingback: No such things as Needs or Wants | Style Me Minimal

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