A key theme of ConsumerShift is that the emergence of postmodern and integral values would lead to less emphasis on material goods consumption. It is perhaps best captured by the theme of “enoughness,” in which people feel their lives are getting out of control, and they want to take back that control and set limits. If you’re wondering what this looks like in “real life,” take a look at this New York Times piece on “Living with Less. A Lot Less.”
It tells the story of an entrepreneur who strikes it rich and finds himself being more or less sucked into a consumptive lifestyle. Interestingly, the story shows how so much of our consumption is based on an expectation that it is appropriate to where one is in their journey, e.g., strike it rich = consume as one with money and status “should” consume.
Our entrepreneur is vaguely discomforted by this slide into high consumption and it takes a romantic relationship to snap him out of it, and rethink his priorities. In ConsumerShift, it’s noted how it often takes some sort of crisis or change in life conditions to provoke a rethinking. In the case here, the author downsizes his lifestyle and turns his entrepreneurial efforts to causes such as treehugger.com. Many of you will recognize this “make a difference” turn and not he’s shift into Integral values. A really nice illustration of some of the key ideas we’ve been talking about here! Andy Hines