The Alternative Consumer

This blog focuses on environmental issues, and healthy lifestyle choices -- new products and service options for your self, your friends, family and home. It's all about making smart choices, and living well!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Not Buying It

Just not buying this whole Consumerism-thing? Then maybe you want to go to your local public library to check out this book by Judith Levine. (To suggest that you purchase Not Buying It isn't in keeping with the premise of the book -- perhaps you steal the book, read it, and then pass it along to a friend....hmmm.)

Now seriously, Judith has done her research on this hot topic. Although much theory and data exists regarding both what people consume, and why -- very little data exists on why people choose not to purchase. Judith substantiates the premise with Thomas Princen, co-director of the Workshop on Consumption and Environment at the University of Michigan's belief, that this environment "makes the non-purchase decision a critical focus of inquiry."

With this info tucked safely in her back pocket, Judith and her live-in partner, Paul take a year-off from mass consumerism -- and purchase only life's necessities for an entire year -- chronically their experiences. It begs the question: Do you buy it? /m


Blogger cube said...

I wouldn't go as far as this woman did, but I do think Christmas materialism has gone too far. We've taken small steps to combat it, e.g, my siblings and I haven't bought gifts for eachother for years now. We only buy for the kids.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Galli Galli Sim Sim said...

Gift giving only to the kids is definitely a good approach. On a side note, the marketing and advertising to children is a relentless and merciless enterprise to which there appears to be no solution, other than parental good judgement and restraint.

2:00 PM  
Blogger cube said...

Hey, I've got tons of parental good judgement & restraint ;-)

4:40 PM  
Blogger Galli Galli Sim Sim said...

I fear you are in the minority.

5:35 PM  
Blogger brian423 said...

I haven't read the book, but this review convincingly calls it self-righteous and hypocritical. During her year of "voluntary simplicity," Levine holds on to her high-speed DSL, cable TV, $55 haircuts, renovations of her second home, and ski trips. Only the bare necessities, my ass.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Galli Galli Sim Sim said...

Hi Brian,
One of Levine's premises of the book -- an analysis of Why People Choose NOT To Buy -- is worthy enough. However, based on the book review you sited, Levine seems not up to the task, and perhaps to lack integrity. My initial skepticism regarding this book appears to have been justified -- I'm just not buying it.

Many thanks for your comments.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Blage said...

This year I have only purchased presents that are not massed produced. Items from art shows and galleries etc. Personally, I think Judith is trying to validate being a cheapscape.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Galli Galli Sim Sim said...

Hi Blage,
Buying the unique, rather than the mass-produced is a great way to go. Your comment about Judith just validating being a cheapskate is funny, and perhaps right on the money.
Enjoy the holidays, and thanks for commenting.

10:44 AM  

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