In modern America, consumerism has encouraged people to seek happiness through constant expansion of their material standard of living. Consumerism has led to a growth of status consumption and want-creation, both of which increase consumption without contributing to happiness. Adam Smith observed that lasting happiness is found in tranquility as opposed to consumption. In their quest for more consumption, people have forgotten about the three virtues Smith observed that best provide for a tranquil lifestyle and overall social well-being: justice, beneficence and prudence. Applying the virtues to modern society may decrease overall consumption but will lead to a more satisfied life.
Major Themes in Economics
©2008 by Major Themes in Economics
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"Adam Smith and Consumerism’s Role in Happiness: Modern Society Re-examined,"
Major Themes in Economics, 10, 65-77.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/mtie/vol10/iss1/6