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Week 9 Tute: Ethics of Consumption (Assessed)

Readings:
Shaw et. al. (2013), Chapter 5: The Morality and Ethics of Consumption.
Textbook Reading: Why Do We Consume So Much, by the Juliet Schor, pp.258-66.

Task for students.

Once you have read the textbook chapter and the Reading, answer discussion questions 1, 3-5 (ignore question 2 and 6).

Q1. Who is the ‘we’ in the question ‘ Why do we consume so much?’ Is Juliet Schor correct that ‘there is increasingly little that we do which is not a consumption experience’? And that we have become a culture of excessive consumption? Explain your answers.
The ‘we’ is straightforward. It does not mean the ‘global’ we due to there is a huge gap between the global ‘South’ and global ‘North’ about the per capita GDP. Thus, the ‘we’ stands for the majority of Americans – those whose basic needs are met, who have discretionary income, the large middle classes whose standard of living has risen so dramatically over this century.
Juliet Schor is correct that there is increasinglt little that we do which is not a consumption experience. Material abundance has only intensified in recent years, with the booming economy of the 1990s and early 21st century.
We hace become a culture of excessive consumption. The number of vehicles per person has increased, as has the size and luxuriousness of those vehicles. Americans spend more on cosmetics every year than the extra expenditure needed to bring universal access to basic education for all children in the developing world.

Q3. Explain why Schor believes that ‘more leisured, less consumerist lifestyles are structurally blocked’. Why can’t people simply choose to work less and enjoy more free time? Do you agree that working long hours encourages people to consume more?
If there is not a freely functioning market in hours, and employers inhibit hours’ reductions, then there…...

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