Is Rampant Consumerism Ruining Our Lives?
The idea of a decent standard of living without economic growth runs counter to much of what we've been taught about economics, development and even human nature. Yet as Leonora's review of Professor Tim Jackson's book Prosperity Without Growth showed, there are plenty of convincing arguments for why we should rethink our relationship to GDP for the good of both the natural environment and our collective well-being. Today readers with an interest in zero growth economics will get a chance to pose their own questions to Professor Jackson as The Guardian hosts a Q&A; on whether consumerism is ruining our lives:
In his influential book, Prosperity without Growth, he writes: "The starting point must be to unravel the forces that keep us in damaging denial ... the profit motive stimulates a continual search for newer, better or cheaper products and services. Our own relentless search for novelty and social status locks us into an iron cage of consumerism. Affluence has itself betrayed us."
Economic suicide? Or a blueprint for transforming our self-destructive lifestyles? Jackson will be with us between 1pm and 2pm on Friday 18 March to answer your questions. You might like to ask him why he is dismissive of David Cameron's desire to create a happiness index, for example.
Note that the time is 1pm-2pm GMT, or 7am-8am EST. I would include West Coast times here too for our US readers, but quite frankly you should still be in bed. It's important we learn to take it easy...