The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need
by Juliet Schor (Harper Perennial 1998)
The Overspent American is a study of the psychological and sociological factors that drive Americans’ compulsive consumption. In the mid twentieth century, we all believed that a big boom in mechanization and productivity would translate into a significant increase in leisure time. Instead the 21st century found Americans working harder than ever. Growing income inequality, with a bigger percentage of our work product, going to corporate profit, is a big part of the answer. Another important part is compulsive spending patterns that have trapped Americans into in painful desire-debt-spend-overwork cycle.
In many, compulsive spending is an addictive behavior. Many shopaholics regret their purchases once they get them home and never use them.
According to Schor, around 80% of Americans feel that US society is too materialistic, while simultaneously under-estimating their own compulsive…
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