Many rail against the excesses of consumer society.  An outlook given additional force by the belief that consumerism is a key factor in driving climate change. Yet the reality is that consumption continues to rise even though the evidence is that it makes us no happier.  The average westerner has so many clothes, 75% are not worn from one year to the next.  And worldwide we throw away between a third and a half of all food produced.

Should we conclude that minor ethical tweaks to our purchases will make little difference, and instead require a wholesale abandonment of over consumption?  Or is consumer culture essential to our broader prosperity providing work and goods for all?   And in either case, what are the activities and goals we need to genuinely enrich our lives and make us more satisfied?  

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