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Do Americans Shop Too Much?

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Overview

Juliet Schor breaks a taboo by exposing Americans' shopping habits to moral society. Schor disapproves of unfettered private consumption, not only because we already use up so much, but also because overspending to bolster a sense of self does not lead to happiness. Along with her critique, Schor suggests intriguing ideas for making 'status' goods accessible for all--for example, imposing high taxes on expensive items to subsidize lines of affordable 'luxury' goods. A firestorm of responses follow from economist Robert Frank and others.

The New Democracy Forum is a series of short paperback originals exploring creative solutions to our most urgent national concerns.

"A civic treasure. . . . A truly good idea, carried out with intelligence and panache." --Robert Pinsky

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Do Americans shop too much? Yes, but there's one more thing they should buy-this book, which offers lucid new perspectives on what drives us to the mall.--Barbara Ehrenreich

"Juliet Schor manages to insert a new question into our politics, and not a moment too soon. May the reactions to her ideas be the beginning of a robust public discussion, not merely an academic discourse. These issues will leap off the page at every reader who has ever wondered about why on earth he's living the way he is."--Bill McKibben

"I read everything that is written by Juliet Schor. The reasons are clear and compelling. She is a fine writer, always has something new and important to say, and always I am persuaded and grateful. So with this excellent piece of work."--John Kenneth Galbraith

Internet Book Watch
In Do Americans Shop Too Much?, Harvard economist Juliet Schor (with the assistance of Robert Frank, Michele Lamont, Lawrence Mishel and others) traces the current over consumption trends of American consumers influenced by media presentations of affluence. Calling for Americans to see private consumption in the light of public costs and consequences (including debt burdens, interest rate erosions on disposable income, etc.) Schor suggests a consumer movement in which people re-evaluate their basic needs versus media and advertising induced desires, placing instead, new, more financially conservative and budget-friendly values on family, leisure and community time. Enhanced with an informative Foreword by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, Do Americans Shop Too Much? is clearly written and highly accessible reading recommended for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in financial management, the impact of culture on spending habits, and the influence of media on personal and family financial behavior.
—Internet Book Watch
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807004432
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Series: New Democracy Forum Series
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,203,773
  • Product dimensions: 5.35 (w) x 7.95 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Author of The Overworked American and The Overspent American, Juliet Schor is professor of economics at Harvard University.
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