Is Consumerism a Mental Illness?

Is consumerism a mental illness? Well, that depends on what it means to be mentally healthy. A paper from the World Psychiatric Association defines mental health as a state of internal and external equilibrium that produces a feeling of personal well-being. Let’s look at those pieces. Internal equilibrium is a matter of finding a satisfactory balance… Continue reading Is Consumerism a Mental Illness?

A Vertically-Radical Manifesto

The economy works relentlessly to ensure that nobody pursues a meaningful life. The central mission of a capitalist market economy is to persuade each and every one of us to suck in as much material pleasure (called “utility”) as we possibly can — and to serve others in the process as little as we possibly… Continue reading A Vertically-Radical Manifesto

The Wendigo Economy

Indigenous mythology is usually dismissed as pagan, even though the wiser among us know that our own deepest wisdom is steeped in mythological roots. It’s just considered legitimate to discount indigenous narratives as naive, and glorify even our own dumbest mythologies as profound. But it’s even dumber when a culture fails to develop a crucial… Continue reading The Wendigo Economy

Cursed by Growth

Almost all spiritual traditions view consumerism — the preoccupation with acquiring more goodies and pleasures over time — as profane and beneath human dignity. Buddhism views our unconstrained appetites as the very source of human unhappiness. Islam and Christianity both emphasize the need to follow your calling in life, where excessive consumption is an impediment… Continue reading Cursed by Growth

Nobel Economics Winner — Kept on Sidelines

The latest winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (oddly named because it was not on the original list of Nobel Prizes) is the American, Richard Thaler. He did good pioneering work on Behavioral Economics. But despite the accolade, every effort will be made — successfully — to keep him on the sidelines.… Continue reading Nobel Economics Winner — Kept on Sidelines

Frugal Living is Counter-Cultural

What if we all decided to follow the advice of just about every spiritual tradition, as well as some secular humanist traditions? What if we all agreed to live frugally, acquiring only what we need to live a life of meaning and service to humanity? All hell would break loose. Capitalism would implode. A capitalist… Continue reading Frugal Living is Counter-Cultural

Preference for the Poor

There are so many issues around poverty, but the spiritual issue is largely ignored in our consumption-worshipping culture. We’re all supposed to be medium-poor in our frugality of spirit, as we renounce the excesses of empty affluence. Instead we glut ourselves on all the commodities we can wring out of the market, and we ignore… Continue reading Preference for the Poor

Interest: Why Do We Disobey?

Both Islamic and Christian Scriptures strictly forbid anyone charging interest. Why do Muslims obey devoutly, but Christians disobey flagrantly? Spoiler. Westerners were offered a deal they couldn’t refuse. Scrap that particular prohibition on financial exploitation — and we’ll give you riches beyond your wildest dreams. “Ban, what ban? Gimme the goodies!” I’ll start with Christian… Continue reading Interest: Why Do We Disobey?