Excerpts from an interesting book Do Americans Shop Too Much: “Because environmental damage is typically not included in the price of the product which casues it (for example, cars, toxic chemicals, pesticides), we overcomsume environmentally damaging commodities. Indeed, because all production has an impact on the environment, we overconsume virtually all commodities. This means that we consume too much in toto, in comparison to nonenvironmentally damaging activites.”“In comparison to what a truly democratic state might provide, we find that a business-dominated government skews outcomes in the direction of private production. We don’t get enough, or good enough, education, arts, recreation, mass transport, and other conventional public goods. We get too many cars, too many clothes, too many collectibles.”For those public goods that are complementary with private spending (roads and cars versus bicycle lanes and bicycles) this bias constrains the choices available to individuals. Without the bicycle lanes or mass transport, private cars are unavoidable. Because so much of our consumption is linked to larger collective decisions, the individual consume is always operating under particular constraints….
As public telephone booths disappear, mobile phones become more necessary. Without adequate public libraries, we need to purchase more books.”It is obvious that many of those who left reviews of the book at Amazon.com did not understand what they read. Their eyes moved across the words written on the page, but the meaning of the words did not filter down into the consciousness.