Friday, November 16, 2007


American Public Media (the program production and distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio) has a series and a nice website called Consumed, which addresses the sustainability of our consumer society:
We are what we buy — a glib adage to be sure, but it prompts an interesting question: Is our consumer society sustainable? American Public Media takes on that question in this special series. We follow consumerism from its origins to its dominance in the world's economy and, arguably, its culture. And we examine how, and if, it might be adapted to reduce its destructive consequences while keeping store shelves stocked.
It's an issue that seems particularly pertinent as we enter the peak shopping period of the year -- a time when we often buy things simply for the sake of buying (and giving). There can be so much emotion and stress caught up in the idea of creating memorable holidays, proving our love and esteem for those around us, and keeping up with internally or externally imposed standards of giving. My blogging sister-in-law recently queried, "What Would Jesus Buy?"

Today's Midday program, at noon on KNOW 91.1 FM, presents one element in the Consumed series: an American RadioWorks documentary on "The Design of Desire" -- in part, a scientific look at what goes on in our brains (and in particular our pleasure and pain centers) when we shop. It could explain a lot.

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