Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Are You an Enlightened Consumer?

 by Julie Hanus


Tags: Spirituality, mindful living, consumer culture, shopping, thrift, anthropology, Urbanite,

dec09cover-urbaniteThrift is in—perhaps with lasting ramifications, according to Urbanite. We’re witnessing nothing short of a “tectonic shift” in consumer culture, Rob Hiaasen writes for the Baltimore magazine. Hiaasen hooks up with anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff, who “frames the issue as a before-and-after question: Why shop then? ‘I shop, therefore I am.’ Why shop now? ‘I shop because I live in a consumer society and I need stuff, but it doesn’t define me.’ ”

The transformation, which began last year, took “grief-like stages,” Hiaasen writes, “as ‘Homo Economicus’—a creature ‘consumed by consumerism’—was miraculously transformed into the more enlightened ‘Grounded Consumer,’ who lives within his or her means and understands the concepts of debt and savings.

“In the third stage of this transformation, the shopper moves from ‘Me’ to ‘We’ consumerism, Blinkoff says, which emphasizes family and community relationships rather than just satisfies personal material whims. In the fourth stage, consumers begin to “un-stuff” their lives by selling off or giving away excess possessions.”

Source: Urbanite