Spoiling Affluence: How Market Prosperity Limits Market Satisfactions
Paperback, 318 Pages
Prints in 3-5 business days
In Spoiling Affluence, James Klumpner looks at never-ending economic growth and asks, “Why?” Is this rational? Is it good for us? Or as this book argues, does unending market growth merely tempt us with transient pleasures, deplete our savings, impose insecurity, weaken social bonds, and gobble our time and energy? Intended for the non-economist, Spoiling Affluence is an economics book that actually is fun to read. With wit and precision, it examines whether economic growth is blinding us to possibilities of a better life. It relies on everyday examples rather than reams of data, and leaves the math to the mathematicians. Whether you agree with Klumpner’s ideas or not, you will find yourself entertained and also challenged to see everyday consumer choices in a whole new light.
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Sep 29, 2016Being unfamiliar with economic terminology, I was pleased to see that Jim used plain English to explain economic phenomenon. In many developing countries, we have known GDP growth, but at the price of environmental pollution. I particularly enjoyed reading Jim’s discussion of another type of pollution -- intrusive marketing that might contribute to GDP, but that also generates visual, auditory and psychological pollution that is not necessarily good for everyone.
Sep 27, 2016Spoiling Affluence tackles head-on our pervasive assumption that economic growth is desirable for all societies, at all times. This assault is not new, and likely not unfamiliar to you, if you've ever heard of spirituality or altruism or the charms of quality over quantity or the limits to growth. But the assumption won't die; in my corner of the universe it appears unquestioned every day, in the headlines of NPR, The Economist, and The New York Times, in the reported visions of politicians of every stripe, and even in my private hopes for the lives of future generations. It's like the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The very people who admit that the DJIA is largely meaningless will faithfully report how it's changing from hour to hour. Don't be fooled by the assertion on page 24, that "almost none of the ideas in this book are original with the author." This is a highly personal and innovative book, in its creations and its occasional missteps, which is exactly why it adds... More > to the debate, and does not just parrot what you've heard before. Klumpner wants to steer the discussion of human welfare (he calls it "wellbeing," which sounds clunky but not weird to this reviewer) back to a consideration of mortality and morality, via explicit considerations of time constraints and innate values -- as against the "values" imposed by propagandists, proselytizers, and assorted marketers. Klumpner argues that we have rashly applied a solid economic framework beyond the domain of its usefulness. A body of theory that illuminates and guides the transition out of poverty now risks irrelevance in the growing zones of material prosperity. He invokes, but tantalizingly briefly, game theory and consumer surplus, to bolster his claims. He spends more time on behavioral economics, and the book would be fun for these discussions alone, but he leaves the reader a little hungry for more elaboration of the implications. He introduces thinkers unfamiliar to most, like Staffan Linder and Tibor Scitovsky, and brings us an essay by Keynes that certainly didn't loom large or small in my economics classes. Spoiling Affluence bites off more than it chews, but it piles your plate with ideas that invite you to take a bite of your own. If you read the book, then follow the leads in the bibliography and notes, you may find the bites tasty indeed.< Less
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- James H. Klumpner (Standard Copyright License)
- Limited Edition
- Wordsquirter Press
- September 8, 2016
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 1.19 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
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