Matt Hart just recently posted a link to this site about consumerism. Be sure to watch The Story of Stuff when you get a chance.
Unfortunately, our country doesn't have a good track record when it comes to consuming less. Our capitalistic society has glorified consumerism because of our collective love of the almighty dollar and it's coming around to bite us in the butt.
It reminds me of this:
Much of Western culture takes the path of less resistance or the path of perceived greatest pleasure. This is evident in our rising obesity epidemic, the constant commercials for more luxurious cars, and the current market conditions in the housing/mortgage sector. People get in over their head because they're convinced that they NEED more luxury or more space. Why do we allow this to go on?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for progress and technological advancement, but it has to be SUSTAINABLE progress. Newer and better gets shoved at us so fast now that we don't have time to fully utilize and appreciate what we currently have. When is the last time you repaired a hole in a pair of socks or mended something on your clothes? We've become so accustomed to everything being disposable because the price of consumables is low enough we don't give it a second thought. This also speaks to our lack of discipline. We seek the quickest or easiest way to achieve what we think we want. Instant gratification is rarely productive in the long run.
Have you noticed that the quality of most things has dropped substantially in the last 20 years? Computers/parts/peripherals, etc, don't last as long. Cars aren't driven as long as they used to be. Phone and/or cable service gets changed every few months now because we can save money by switching to something else, or because the service sucks. How many of you would rather go get another new printer or just buy new ink cartridges which cost almost as much?
Why don't we wake up and see that our love of money (corporate greed/ personal wealth and perceived status) is what is driving this? We need to start shifting our values to more substantial ones which will HAVE to start with taking our focus off of ourselves.