May 4, 2009

The Story of Consumerism

Extreme poverty and hunger are key underlying causes of conflict in the world today - made worse by declining environmental and economic conditions. At the intersection of our environmental dilemma and the economic crisis lies the story of consumerism in our culture . Here are three outstanding and very different windows on the ‘stuff’ of
consumer culture. Each, in its particular genre, merits six stars out of five.

1. Some interesting reviews have appeared in the Multinational Monitoreditor's blog and the New York Times of a video entitled "The Story of Stuff" (20 min. in length). The basic information may be familiar, but the young woman who researched and narrates the video put together a powerful and persuasive narrative.
The video is also available at: along with a variety of other resources.

2. A second review article by the late Donella Meadows is entitled "A Useful Guide to Understanding Where All That Stuff Comes From". It is a good review, and more, of a book as terrific short book it is brief, "Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things" by John Ryan and Alan Durning.

3. George Carlin is considered by many to be one of the great humorists of the past century (and by others as an exceptionally most foul-mouthed symbol of the decline and corruption of that century).
What can’t be denied is that he is frequently more thought-provoking than his competition. At his best he combines a laser focus on cultural and linguistic nuance with his more commonly noted capacity to shock. Nowhere are all these qualities in greater evidence than in his barely five minute treatise, "George Carlin Talks About 'Stuff'"