monitor2That’s right, I don’t own a flat screen, I still have my old school 27” RCA Remote Monitor ColorTrak (Picture embedded in the post) that came with the Co-op when I bought it almost 4 years ago. It never went bad, so I never replaced it. Until that day comes, I’m rocking the RCA 27” till the tube explodes like a spark from those old school cameras that used flash powder (aluminum and potassium perchlorate) to light up the pictures. Unfortunately this post is not about my electronic frugality, but close to the topic at hand. Last night my wife and I attended Poetic, People and Power 8th annual show Price Check: How We Became a Culture of Consumption. Here’s a bio from the website:

Poetic People Power was founded by writer/performance poet Tara Bracco in 2003 to create an ongoing project that combines poetry and activism. Each year, a diverse group of poets are commissioned to write new works on a political or social issue. The new poems are then brought to a public audience in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. Poetic People Power entertains and informs. It raises awareness on specific topics and engages audiences through the expressive art of poetry.

Right now it’s 6:52am, and I’m postponing my P90x routine this morning to write about this, because I was so moved by the poet(s) poetry. This particular show was about the power of consumerism and how our society has become somewhat enslaved to an ideology of spending and debt. I touched on this topic in a post I wrote in 2006 called Slave to Fashion Dominatrix to Prices. This is not just about people who overspend, it’s also about the cost of living (healthcare, education, etc) skyrocketing and how wages have stagnated (relative to inflation), while pushing many of us further into debt.

In light of the recent financial crisis, this is extremely important. I cannot find the exact words to explain how last night’s topic is connected to the happiness and financial solvency of the average household, but I’ll leave you with this.

In the foreward of Tim Kasser’s book The High Price of Materialism, Richard M. Ryan summarizes Kasser’s research by stating.

Once people are above poverty levels of income, gains in wealth have little to no incremental payoff in terms of happiness and well-being.

Also check out this very eye opening and disturbing documentary on how our kids are becoming indoctrinated by a new culture of consumerism. I have 1 year old so for those parents out there, keep your third eye open.

Consuming Kids: The Commericialization of Childhood – Youtube all 7 parts

Get informed, Get Active, and Become a smarter consumer!. There are resources below for those who are interested:

  Other Resources to stay informed and involved.

  • Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic ~ John de Graaf (Author), David Wann (Author), Thomas H Naylor (Author), David Horsey (Illustrator), Vicki Robin
  • The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need ~ Juliet B. Schor
  • The Hight Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser
  • Credit Card Nation by Robert D. Manning
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz
  • Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominquez
  • No Logo by Naomi Klein

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5 Responses

  1. Darren

    I’m glad you enjoyed the event. I hope we can make this an annual excursion.

    Reply
  2. Tikia K. Hamilton

    g and the only reason I have that one is because one of my relatives got tired of seeing my 9 inch tv (from my college days-12 years ago) whenever he came over…I still have that one in my closet and though it has clunked out on me several times, I still feel it may come in handy should … See Morethe 13 inch give out. I was just wondering where the hell I’d put a flat screen. It would conflict with my artwork, which is way more important! On another note, I was just thinking about what would happen if we devoted one of the holidays to anti-consumerism and invested money in something worthy…It is ironic that you (Dwayne) should refer the tv that you got when you purchased a co-op, since that was widely due to one of the sessions you hosted for my now defuct women’s org, where we discussed home ownership…Although I fear that perhaps my decision to purchase had half to do with my wanting to own a piece of home (Harlem) and keeping up with the Joneses. I have paid for it many times over…

    Reply
  3. Tikia K. Hamilton

    Me, too! My tv looks just like the one in your (Dwayne’s) blo 2.

    g and the only reason I have that one is because one of my relatives got tired of seeing my 9 inch tv (from my college days-12 years ago) whenever he came over…I still have that one in my closet and though it has clunked out on me several times, I still feel it may come in handy should … See Morethe 13 inch give out. I was just wondering where the hell I’d put a flat screen. It would conflict with my artwork, which is way more important! On another note, I was just thinking about what would happen if we devoted one of the holidays to anti-consumerism and invested money in something worthy…It is ironic that you (Dwayne) should refer the tv that you got when you purchased a co-op, since that was widely due to one of the sessions you hosted for my now defuct women’s org, where we discussed home ownership…Although I fear that perhaps my decision to purchase had half to do with my wanting to own a piece of home (Harlem) and keeping up with the Joneses. I have paid for it many times over…

    Reply
  4. Halit

    “Once people are above poverty levels of income, gains in wealth have little to no incremental payoff in terms of happiness and well-being.”

    Thanks for this great quote Malik. That pretty much summarizes the value of money!

    Reply

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