Economic materialism

Economic materialism
This article addresses materialism in the economic sense of the word. For information on the philosophical and scientific meanings, see materialism.

Materialism (adj. materialistic) is a mindset that views the consumption and acquisition of material goods as positive and desirable. It is often bound up with a value system which regards social status as being intrinsically linked to affluence (see conspicuous consumption) as well as the perception that happiness can be increased through buying, spending and accumulating material wealth. Positively, materialism might be considered a pragmatic form of enlightened self-interest based on a prudent understanding of the character of capitalist society. Negatively, it is considered a crass if not false value system induced by the spell of commodity fetishism and void of more noble and worthy values.


Opposition to economic materialism comes from many sources including religion, environmentalism and social activism. Many religions oppose materialism because of the belief that it interferes with spirituality and the divine, or that it leads to an immoral lifestyle. Some social activists believe that materialism is often a source of societal ills such as war, crime, poverty, oppression and genocide. A main concern is that materialism is unable to offer a proper raison d'être for human existence. Supporters of environmentalism feel that increasing materialism is unsustainable, especially when coupled with population growth, and most often leads to an increased destruction of nature.

See also

External links

Scientific American. 'Can money buy happiness?'[1]

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