Materialism vs Happiness in America

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Western society has an obsession. It is a dark and crippling fixation. Many people do not even realize the trap society has lured them into. The procurement of material wealth has become an obsession in modern Western culture. The culture has become obsessed with acquiring vast amounts of wealth and anything associated with “being wealthy”. This need for material objects has intensified overtime. The progression of materialism in the western world has caused a decrease in the happiness and overall well-being of the people that reside in the society. Materialism as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is “a doctrine that the only or the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress”. Cuing Consumerism, an article by Association for Psychological Science, defines materialism as “as a value system that is preoccupied with possessions and the social image they project” (Bauer, Wilkie, Kim and Bodenhausen, pg.518). There are varying definitions on what exactly materialism is. What all the definitions have in common state is that materialism is an obsession with having physical possessions. The human desire for physical possessions is a valid need. Humans require certain psychical objects in order to survive. Having possessions such as an adequate amount of food, shelter, water and clothing is necessary for human survival. If humans had no desire for our basic necessity it is likely we would have become extinct thousands of years ago. It is not until that need becomes excessive and an obsession that it becomes problematic. Materialism has been a problem in western Society for a millennium. The human capacity for greed knows no bounds. Looking throughout history examples o... ... middle of paper ... ...ether. Works Cited 1. Oswald, Andrew. "Rich in Misery." New Scientist 193.2588 (2007): 44-45. Print. 2. Madeline Devine. “How Materialism Hurts Our Kids: Privilege” Tikkun.org (2007). 34-38 3. Burroughs, James E., and Aric Rindfleisch. "Materialism and Well‐Being: A Conflicting Values Perspective." Journal of Consumer Research 29.3 (2002): 348-70. Print. 4. Terry Nichols Clark. “Is Materialism Rising in America?” Social Science and Public Policy(2000). 47-48 5. A. Bauer, James E. B. Wilkie, Jung K. Kim and Galen V. Bodenhausen . “Cuing Consumerism: Situational Materialism Undermines Personal and Social Well-Being.” Psychological Science: (2012). 518-529 6. Andrew M. Baker, George P Moschis, Fon Sim Ong, and Ra-Pee Pattanapanyasat. “Materialism and Life Satisfaction: The Role of Stress and Religiosity.” The Journal of Consumer Affairs(2013). 549-562

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