Materialism.ppt - MyTMC by linxiaoqin


 In class survey--show of
• Have you ever gone shopping:
  • because you were bored?
  • because you were in a good mood?
  • because you were in a bad mood?
  • for no reason at all?
  • Do you own anything that have not used in
    the last year? 5 years? 10 years?
Whoever dies with the most toys, wins.

“The man who dies…rich dies disgraced.”
    Andrew Carnegie

“It is not the possessions but the desires of
mankind which require to be equalized.”
“Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods,
but from a contented mind.”

“When you’re dead you don’t take nothin’ with you but
your soul.”
    John Lennon

“If no one consumes these products, people will stop
producing them. They will not build it if you don’t
     Bill Clinton
    In 1957 the percentage of Americans describing themselves a “very happy”
        reached a peak never to be exceeded for the rest of the 20th century.
E.g. house size sq ft.

•     1940’s mean was 750 sq ft

•     1950s 950 sq ft

•     1960s 1100 sq ft

•     1970s 1350 sq ft

•     2001 2300 sq ft, more than 3 times the size of an average home in 1940’s

•     Homes of 3000 - 4000 sq ft are common

•     Further, homes have amenities unheard of in 50s: dishwashers, central air conditioning,
      two and three car garages, cable TV, whirlpools, sound systems, home theaters, multiple
      bathrooms, internet access, wall to wall carpeting, microwave ovens…

•     “We have a lot more stuff and much higher material expectations than previous
      generations did.”
          The storage industry
• 1972 was no storage industry in US
• 46,500 storage facilities in US
• revenue of $20 billion
• Nearly 1 in 10 households rents
• employing 163,000 people
• There is 7.0 sq. ft. of self storage space for every man,
   woman and child in the U.S. It is physically possible
   that every American could stand – all at the same time
   – under the canopy of self storage roofing

“Just as our ancestors had to collect berries to fill
their baskets, hunt woolly mammoths with their
spears, and build shelters with available materials,
contemporary humans must earn a paycheck and
pay the bills. Having a steady job and money in a
savings account make people feel more secure and
thus fulfill the same needs that drove our ancestors
to store dried meat for another long winter.”
          More Kasser
“The problem is that materialistic values
are rather poor coping strategies. As with
other coping strategies that may make
people feel good in the short term,
materialistic pursuits may in the long term
actually maintain and deepen feeling of
“Even the successful pursuit of
materialistic ideals typically turns out to be
empty and unsatisfying.”
“The implications for a materialistic
orientation are deep…when people follow
materialistic values and organize their lives
around attaining wealth and possessions,
they are essentially wasting their time as
far as well-being is concerned.”
   The Materialism Value
       Scale (MVS)
• high scores (compared to low)
  • desired higher incomes
  • placed more emphasis on financial security
  • placed less emphasis on interpersonal relationships
     (family & friends)

  • preferred to spend more on themselves and less on

  • were less satisfied with lives, overall
   The Materialism Value
       Scale (MVS)
  • Materialism was negatively related to
     satisfaction in all aspects of life measured
     (family, income, std of living, fun)

  • Materialism correlated with envy r = .47*
• Correlated with self-esteem r = -.12*(more
  negative evaluation of themselves)

• the least materialistic people reported the most
  life satisfaction
Assume you are unexpectedly given
        $20,000, how use it?
• Spending intentions by materialism level
                                 High materialism   Low materialism

buy things I need/want           $3445              $1106

give to church or charity        $733               $1782

give/lend to friends/relations   $1089              $2631

travel                           $2090              $3015

• all comparisons significantly different
• Materialistic people are more self centered

• The value placed on the acquisition of
  material objects
• Tendency to value or covet possessions
Materialism & Self Concept

• Material goods as a form of self
• Express our uniqueness
  • To maintain or enhance who we are
  • The positive view
      The negative view
• Material goods are a form of
  compensation for shortcomings by
  adopting consumer symbols
• A form of conformity (to social
• Try to buy an image that covers flaws,
  weaknesses, or creates an artificial
            Schroeder & Dugal
• Correlate materialism and many traits
• Significant positive correlations:
   • Materialism & envy .69
   • ……… & self consciousness .42
   • ……….& social anxiety .34
   • ………. & conformity .38

• The materialistic person is socially anxious,
   envious of others, susceptible to influence of
   others, and self-conscious
        Significant negative
• Need for uniqueness & materialism -.33
• ……………………… & envy                     -.46

• …………… & self consciousness           -.31

• …………..& social anxiety               -.58

• ………….. & social influence            -.42

• People concerned with self expression are less
  materialistic, less self-conscious, have less anxiety, and
  are more resistant to conformity
     Materialism and the
• Pollution
• Global warming
  • Everything comes and goes on a
    diesel truck
• Squandering valuable resources
• May be at odds with community or
  religious values
           Belk & Dawson
• Materialism was associated with:
  • Higher levels of envy, greed, & lack of

  • Negative corr. with happiness, life satisfaction

  • Less satisfied with friends, family, income,
     career accomplishments, & standard of living

  • More social anxiety, dependency & increased
          Kasser & Ryan

• Adolescents w/ strong materialistic values:
  • Lower self-actualization (less motivation to
     reach full potential)

  • More depression & anxiety
  • Replicated with adults/college students
          Kasser & Ryan
• College students
• Materialistic values have:
  • Positive association with narcissism,
     psychosomatic complaints, and drug use

  • Negative corr. with self esteem and quality of

  • Negative associations between M and SWB
     replicated in international studies
Why are materialistic people unhappy?

• Considerable support for idea that materialistic value
   are at odds with well-being

• Psychological needs
  • Security
  • Competence
  • Relatedness
  • Autonomy
  • Materialistic values, pursuits & goals do a poor job
      of satisfying these needs
 Materialistic values and
• Competence
• Relatedness
 • Shorter relationships, more conflict
 • See less value in relationships
 • More likely to objectify people
 • M values poison relationships,
   relationship needs go unmet, less
  “Getting and spending”

• M values promote unhappiness because
  they take away from needs that feed
• (e.g., friends, family, feelings of
  competence & Intrinsic motivation)
 Burroughs & Rindfleisch

• Hypothesis—materialistic values conflict
  with other important values
• Measured well-being, materialism &
  Collective-oriented values (religious,
  family, community)
• Stress & anxiety measure
• Methodology
• Greater materialism, less value of family,
  community & religion

• Materialism associated with higher stress &
  conflict among people with strong collective

• But not for those with low collective value

• Greater value conflict—lower SWB
Environmental Consequences of Materialism

• U.S. home size tripled since

• American travel twice as
  much as Europeans

• Drive 10X as many cars as

• Worldwide, # of motor
  vehicles expected to double
  in 15 years
          Oil & fuel use

• US 18 barrels of oil, per person, per year
  (756 gallons)
• Canada =13
• Japan, Australia, New Zealand = 6
• Contributes to global warming
        From NASA & NOAA

“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely
human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.”
• The 20 warmest years on record have
   occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of
   the warmest years occurring in the
   past 12 years.

• Polar ice cap 20% smaller
• Glacial retreat (many gone)
• Greenland melting at accelerating rate
• Ocean warmer, more acidic, & 7”
   higher in last 100 years
     Environment & Consumption
•    U.S. about 5% of world population

    • Use 30% of fuel (gas, oil)
    • Compared to developing countries
      • Use 3 X as much fresh water
      • 10 X as much energy
      • 19 X as much aluminum…
      • Current levels of consumption are unsustainable
      • Carrying capacity
• 4/5 of world’s forest cover is gone
• Using faster than can re-grow
• Oxygen, absorb CO2, prevents runoff, habitat…
• US, Japan, China use more than 70% of paper
  produced in world

  • 50% of that is packaging and disposable

  • US. discard 10 Billion mail order catalogs
     each year.
      Electronic Waste in US

• 60 million computers
   buried in landfills already

• 50 million more obsolete
   each year

• Discard 100 million cell
   phones annually

• Add to that TVs, batteries,
   MP3s, video games…

All contain lead & toxic heavy
metals (chromium, zinc, tin,
copper, barium) linked to
abnormal brain dev. In kids,
birth defects, nerve damage in
adults, deafness, retardation,
Recycling e-waste
  Efforts in US & Europe

• Massachusetts
• California
• European Union
     Behavioral Approach
                     B. F. Skinner
“…the affluent pursuit of happiness is largely responsible
for pollution.”

“Physical and biological science alone will not solve our

“We need to make changes in human behavior on order
to solve these problems.”

• Can you name any social or environmental problem
   that is not self-inflicted by humans?

• Problems is not lack of science or technology
• Problem is human behavior

What we need is a technology of
behavior…Better contraceptives will
control population only if people use
them…Overcrowding can be corrected
only by inducing people not to crowd, and
the environment will continue to deteriorate
until polluting practices are abandoned.
Behavior modification of environmentally
          relevant behaviors

• Everett, Heyward & Meyers
• Van Houten et al., Feedback
• Oregon glass recycling
• High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes
• Consumption tax vs. income tax
        More examples

• Canada…2 for 1, less consumption &
  universal health care
• Social psychology—social influence
• TMC example
       Buy Nothing Day

• Day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday)
• Raise questions about environment,
  poverty, economic and social justice &
  consequences of over consumption
• Consume less, recycle more…
     Voluntary Simplicity
• Deliberate lifestyle changes
• Voting with your dollars
  • As a form of social activism
• “If no one consumes these products,
  people will stop producing them. They
  will not build it if you don’t come.”
                     Bill Clinton
“…a strong focus on materialistic pursuits
not only distracts people from experience
conducive to psychological health, but
signals a fundamental alienation from what
is truly meaningful.”

One thing I dislike about Christmas

In 1999…Americans spent nearly $200 billion
on holiday gifts more then $850 per consumer.
Affluenza season, the month between
Thanksgiving and Christmas, generated
twenty-five percent of all retail profits. Most
Americans tell pollsters they want less
emphasis on holiday spending and gift-giving.
A third cannot even remember whet they gave
their significant other…and many cannot pay
off their Christmas debt until the following
summer, if then.

The BIG LIE at the heart of consumerism…

“…strong materialistic values are associated with
a pervasive undermining of people’s well-being,
from low life satisfaction and happiness, to
depression and anxiety, to physical problems…to
personality disorders, narcissism, and antisocial
behavior. Not the picture of psychological health
painted by the commercials, is it?”

      Self-imposed servitude.

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you
buy for work, driving through traffic in a car
that you are still paying for, in order to get to
the job that you need so you can pay for the
clothes, car and the house that you leave
empty all day in order to afford to live in it.”


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