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The Theory of the Leisure Class

The Theory of the Leisure Class

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The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions is a book, first published in 1899, by the Norwegian-American economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

 and sociologist Thorstein Veblen
Thorstein Veblen
Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen was an American economist and sociologist, and a leader of the so-called institutional economics movement...

 while he was a professor at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

.
In the book's introduction he explains that much of the material discussed can be traced back to the proper sources by any well-read person. The Theory of the Leisure Class is considered one of the first detailed critiques of consumerism
Consumerism
Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts. The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting with Thorstein Veblen...

.

Thesis


In the book, Veblen argues that economic life is driven not by notions of utility, but by social vestiges from pre-historic times. Drawing examples from the contemporary period and anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, he held that much of today's society is a variation on early tribal life.

According to Veblen, beginning with primitive tribes, people began to adopt a division of labor along certain lines. The "higher status" group monopolized war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

 and hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

, while farming and cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

 were considered inferior work.

He argued this was due to their culture of barbarism
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 and conquest of some tribes over others. Once conquerors took control, they relegated the more menial and labor-intensive jobs to the subjugated people, while retaining the more warlike and violent work for themselves. It did not matter that these "menial" jobs did more to support society (in Veblen's view) than the "higher" ones. Even within tribes that were initially free of conquerors or violence, Veblen argued that certain individuals, upon watching this labor division take place in other groups, began to emulate the behavior in higher-status groups.

Veblen referred to the emerging ruling class as the "leisure class." He argued that while this class did perform some work and contributed to the tribe's well-being, it did so in only a minor, peripheral, and largely symbolic manner. For example, although hunting could provide the tribe with food, it was not as productive or reliable as farming or animal domestication
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

, and compared with the latter types of work, was relatively easier to perform. Likewise, while tribes occasionally required warriors if a conflict broke out, Veblen argued that militaristic members of the leisure class retained their position—and, with it, exemption from menial work—even during the extremely long stretches of time when there was no war, even though they were perfectly capable of contributing to the tribe's "menial" work during times of peace.

At the same time, Veblen claimed that the leisure class managed to retain its position through both direct and indirect coercion. For example, the leisure class reserved for itself the "honor" of warfare, and often prevented members of the lower classes from owning weapons or learning how to fight. At the same time, it made the rest of the tribe feel dependent on the leisure class's continued existence due to the fear of hostilities from other tribes or, as religions began to form, the hostility of imagined deities. Veblen argued that the first priests and religious leaders were members of the leisure class.

To Veblen, society never grew out of this stage; it simply evolved different forms and expressions. For example, he noted that during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, only the nobility was allowed to hunt and fight wars. Likewise, in modern times, he noted that manual laborers usually make less money than white-collar worker
White-collar worker
The term white-collar worker refers to a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, in contrast with a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor...

s.

Conspicuous consumption and leisure



Veblen, in this book, introduced the concepts of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure.

He defined conspicuous consumption as the use of money or other resources by people to display a higher social status than others, e.g. the use of silver utensils
Silver (household)
Household silver or silverware includes dishware, cutlery and other household items made of sterling, Britannia or Sheffield plate silver. The term is often extended to items made of stainless steel...

 at meals, even though utensils made of cheaper material worked just as well or better.

Veblen goods are defined as goods whose desirability increases with their price and scarcity, especially "socially visible" goods rather than goods consumed in private. This idea has received empirical support.

He defined conspicuous leisure as time given certain pursuits in return for higher status. As examples, he noted that to be a gentleman
Gentleman
The term gentleman , in its original and strict signification, denoted a well-educated man of good family and distinction, analogous to the Latin generosus...

, a man must study such things as philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and the fine art
Fine art
Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

s, which he deemed had little economic value in themselves.

Economic drive


Whereas neoclassical economics
Neoclassical economics
Neoclassical economics is a term variously used for approaches to economics focusing on the determination of prices, outputs, and income distributions in markets through supply and demand, often mediated through a hypothesized maximization of utility by income-constrained individuals and of profits...

 defines humans as rational, utility
Utility
In economics, utility is a measure of customer satisfaction, referring to the total satisfaction received by a consumer from consuming a good or service....

-seeking people who try to maximize their pleasure, Veblen recast them as irrational creatures who pursue social status
Social status
In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society . It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group, for example son or daughter, playmate, pupil, etc....

 with little regard to their own happiness.

He said that people "emulate" the more respected members of their group in order to gain more status. Certain brand
Brand
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."...

s and stores
Retailing
Retail consists of the sale of physical goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be...

 are considered more "high class" than others, and people may buy them when they cannot afford to do so, even though cheaper goods may be of equal utility.

Following this line of reasoning, Veblen also concluded that businessmen were simply the latest manifestation of the leisure class. He noted that businessmen do not produce goods and services, but simply shift them around whilst taking a profit
Profit (economics)
In economics, the term profit has two related but distinct meanings. Normal profit represents the total opportunity costs of a venture to an entrepreneur or investor, whilst economic profit In economics, the term profit has two related but distinct meanings. Normal profit represents the total...

. He thus argued that the modern businessman is no different from a barbarian, in that he uses prowess and competitive skills to make money from others, and then lives off the spoils of conquests rather than producing things himself.

Implications to society


Veblen outlined a number of consequences of this social order:
  • The subjugation of women. As women were once used as "trophies of war" by barbarians, in modern times, the housewife
    Housewife
    Housewife is a term used to describe a married woman with household responsibilities who is not employed outside the home. Merriam Webster describes a housewife as a married woman who is in charge of her household...

     also served as a trophy to show off a man's success. By not allowing their wives to take outside professions, a man could show off her conspicuous leisure as proof of his status and spend money on his wife through conspicuous consumption
    Conspicuous consumption
    Conspicuous consumption is spending on goods and services acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying income or wealth. In the mind of a conspicuous consumer, such display serves as a means of attaining or maintaining social status....

    .
  • The growth of sport
    Sport
    A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

    s such as football
    Football
    Football may refer to one of a number of team sports which all involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot to score a goal. The most popular of these sports worldwide is association football, more commonly known as just "football" or "soccer"...

    . Veblen argued that, while sports could be advantageous to the community, it was merely a side effect, and that the true reason for the popularity of sports was their usefulness for displaying conspicuous leisure. Moreover, when Veblen spoke of the social "advantage" of sports, he claimed that it was only advantageous from a leisure-class (or barbaric) viewpoint.
  • Religion
    Religion
    Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

     was a group expression of both conspicuous leisure and consumption. A church, to Veblen, was (from an economic point of view) simply a waste of building space, and the clergy
    Clergy
    Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

     a group paid to do nothing useful.
  • Such things as manners
    Manners
    In sociology, manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, the...

     and etiquette
    Etiquette
    Etiquette is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group...

     were nothing but practices of conspicuous leisure with no practical value.


Veblen reflected many of his views in his personal habits: his house was often a mess, with unmade beds and dirty dishes; his clothes were often in disarray; he was an agnostic
Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

; and he tended to be rude when dealing with other people.

Use of satire, sarcasm and humor


The Theory of the Leisure Class is often considered a satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 on modern society. For example:
The book's popularity and commercial success is based largely on this satire. After William Dean Howells
William Dean Howells
William Dean Howells was an American realist author and literary critic. Nicknamed "The Dean of American Letters", he was particularly known for his tenure as editor of the Atlantic Monthly as well as his own writings, including the Christmas story "Christmas Every Day" and the novel The Rise of...

 gave the book a rave review as a social satire, it became a bestseller. Veblen's style of writing had a lifelong impact on sociologist C. Wright Mills
C. Wright Mills
Charles Wright Mills was an American sociologist. Mills is best remembered for his 1959 book The Sociological Imagination in which he lays out a view of the proper relationship between biography and history, theory and method in sociological scholarship...

.

Veblen did not intend for The Theory of the Leisure Class to be a satire, but a serious economic analysis of contemporary America. For example, his theories on businessmen would find a more serious forum for discussion in his 1904 book, The Theory of Business Enterprise
The Theory of Business Enterprise
The Theory of Business Enterprise is an economics book by Thorstein Veblen published in 1904 that looks at the growing corporate domination of culture and the economy....

. His occasional use of satire (e.g., a paper where he defended the virtues of cannibalism
Cannibalism
Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

) often made it difficult for his contemporaries to tell when he was serious. In The Theory of the Leisure Class, Veblen uses the word "evolve" to describe the leisure class's constant movement into different societal niches, even though he made clear in other works that he did not believe that evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 could be applied to the study of society. He uses the word "evolve" sarcastically, as he argued that the leisure class was incapable of fundamental change, and had essentially the same values and outlook as tribal barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

s.

Another problem related to interpretations of Veblen—and The Theory of the Leisure Class—stems from Veblen's peculiar personality and highly misanthropic
Misanthropy
Misanthropy is generalized dislike, distrust, disgust, contempt or hatred of the human species or human nature. A misanthrope, or misanthropist is someone who holds such views or feelings...

 view of society. As Robert Lekachman
Robert Lekachman
Robert Lekachman was an economist known for his extensive advocacy of state intervention, and for a debating style characterized by slow, sing-song speech and circumlocution....

 observed:
This viewpoint was echoed by John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith , OC was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism...

 in his own introduction to The Theory of the Leisure Class—Galbraith argued that the book was an intellectual "put-down" of society on Veblen's part.

However, in the same essay, Lekachman also suggested that Veblen may have used satire to mask the scathing implications of his theories. He argued that Veblen's theories posed a much greater threat to the status quo than those of Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 ever did. Lekachman noted that, while Marx conceded that capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 was superior to earlier social arrangements (e.g. feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

) and was able to produce good things, Veblen denied this. Veblen said capitalism was simply a form of primitive barbarism, and that its creations (as forms of conspicuous consumption) were fundamentally worthless.

Intellectual significance


While Veblen was an economist and published this book as a treatise on economics, many modern classical economists take issue with some of his ideas. The primary reason for this appears to be his attack on the rational expectations
Rational expectations
Rational expectations is a hypothesis in economics which states that agents' predictions of the future value of economically relevant variables are not systematically wrong in that all errors are random. An alternative formulation is that rational expectations are model-consistent expectations, in...

 theories that continue to dominate the discipline. Only in recent years, with the rise of such theories as Butterfly Economics
Butterfly Economics
Butterfly Economics: A New General Theory of Social and Economic Behavior is a book by Paul Ormerod dealing with economic theory, published in 1999...

, is Veblen being given serious consideration by economists.

In contrast, Veblen quickly became influential within the field of sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

. The classic Middletown studies
Middletown studies
The Middletown studies were sociological case studies of the City of Muncie in Indiana conducted by Robert Staughton Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd, husband-and-wife sociologists. The Lynds' findings were detailed in Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture, published in 1929, and Middletown in...

 made much use of Veblen's theories. More to the point, these and many other sociological studies supplied empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 evidence that confirmed Veblen's theories. In the Middletown studies, for example, researchers learned that lower-class families were willing to go without necessities such as food or new clothes to maintain a certain level of conspicuous consumption.

The concept of conspicuous consumption
Conspicuous consumption
Conspicuous consumption is spending on goods and services acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying income or wealth. In the mind of a conspicuous consumer, such display serves as a means of attaining or maintaining social status....

 has been applied to advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

, and to explain why poorer classes have been unable to advance economically. Veblen's views on the uselessness of "businessmen", while usually discarded, have been adopted by Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett
Warren Edward Buffett is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world. Often introduced as "legendary investor, Warren Buffett", he is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is...

, who has criticized the growth of practices such as day trading
Day trading
Day trading refers to the practice of buying and selling financial instruments within the same trading day such that all positions are usually closed before the market close for the trading day...

 and arbitrage
Arbitrage
In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices...

 which make money solely through abstract means, with no value being added. However, the technocratic society predicted by Veblen in later books has not come to pass.

Filmmaker Gabriel Bologna wrote and directed a film called The Theory of The Leisure Class in 2001 about the disintegration of American culture. The movie starred Christopher McDonald
Christopher McDonald
Christopher McDonald is an American actor. He is known for his roles as Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore, Tappy Tibbons in Requiem for a Dream, and Mel Allen in the HBO film 61*.-Personal life:...

, Tuesday Knight
Tuesday Knight
Tuesday Lynn Knight is an American actress. The daughter of composer Baker Knight, she is perhaps best remembered for her role as Kristen Parker in the 1988 horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Also an accomplished musician, Tuesday recorded the song "Nightmare," used during...

, and Brad Renfro
Brad Renfro
Brad Barron Renfro was an American actor. He made his film debut in 1994 at age 12 in the lead role of Joel Schumacher's The Client, going on to star in 21 feature films, several short films, and two television episodes during his career. Much of his later career was marred by a pattern of...

. The film received awards from The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival
New York International Independent Film and Video Festival
New York International Independent Film and Video Festival is a film screening event in various American cities. It was founded in 1993, and its website claims it has been recognized by the film and entertainment industry as one of the leading film events on the independent festival circuit...

, the Milan International Film Festival, and the Los Angeles International Film Awards
Los Angeles Film Festival
The Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by the Los Angeles Times is an event held annually in June in downtown Los Angeles, California. The Los Angeles Film Festival began as the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival in 1995. The first LAIFF took place over the course of five days in a single...

.

Criticism


While few observers deny the reality of emulation and conspicuous consumption
Conspicuous consumption
Conspicuous consumption is spending on goods and services acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying income or wealth. In the mind of a conspicuous consumer, such display serves as a means of attaining or maintaining social status....

, the lack of precise definitions makes it difficult to identify specific instances.

As H. L. Mencken
H. L. Mencken
Henry Louis "H. L." Mencken was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a scholar of American English. Known as the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the...

 sarcastically remarked:
Mencken considered golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

 to be conspicuous leisure; a dedicated golf player would no doubt disagree.

Attempts to universally define conspicuous consumption
Conspicuous consumption
Conspicuous consumption is spending on goods and services acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying income or wealth. In the mind of a conspicuous consumer, such display serves as a means of attaining or maintaining social status....

 are often attacked as being elitist
Elitism
Elitism is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite — a select group of people with intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most...

, most notably those of Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse was a German Jewish philosopher, sociologist and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory...

, which involve a supposedly higher-educated group being given the power to define which items are luxuries.

Robert Heilbroner
Robert Heilbroner
Robert L. Heilbroner was an American economist and historian of economic thought. The author of some twenty books, Heilbroner was best known for The Worldly Philosophers , a survey of the lives and contributions of famous economists, notably Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard...

, in his book The Worldly Philosophers
The Worldly Philosophers
The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers is a book by Robert L. Heilbroner. The book was written in 1953 and has sold more than four million copies through seven editions...

, argued that while Veblen's theories were valid for his time (the 1890s and the Gilded Age
Gilded Age
In United States history, the Gilded Age refers to the era of rapid economic and population growth in the United States during the post–Civil War and post-Reconstruction eras of the late 19th century. The term "Gilded Age" was coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in their book The Gilded...

) and his location (the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in general, and the city of Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 in particular), these theories are now outdated.

Editions


Editions of The Theory of the Leisure Class are often distinguished by the author of the introduction, the most noteworthy authors being C. Wright Mills
C. Wright Mills
Charles Wright Mills was an American sociologist. Mills is best remembered for his 1959 book The Sociological Imagination in which he lays out a view of the proper relationship between biography and history, theory and method in sociological scholarship...

 and John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith , OC was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism...

.

See also

  • Affluenza
    Affluenza
    Affluenza, from affluence and influenza, is a term used by critics of capitalism and consumerism. Sources define it as follows:Proponents of the term consider that the prizing of endless increases in material wealth may lead to feelings of worthlessness and dissatisfaction rather than experiences...

  • Anti-consumerism
    Anti-consumerism
    Anti-consumerism refers to the socio-political movement against the equating of personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of material possessions...

  • Conspicuous consumption
    Conspicuous consumption
    Conspicuous consumption is spending on goods and services acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying income or wealth. In the mind of a conspicuous consumer, such display serves as a means of attaining or maintaining social status....

  • Downshifting
    Downshifting
    Downshifting is a social behavior or trend in which individuals live simpler lives to escape from the rat race of obsessive materialism and to reduce the “stress, overtime, and psychological expense that may accompany it.” It emphasizes finding an improved balance between leisure and work and...

  • Frugality
    Frugality
    Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the use of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance....

  • Mottainai
    MOTTAINAI
    is a Japanese term meaning "a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilized." The expression "Mottainai!" can be uttered alone as an exclamation when something useful, such as food or time, is wasted, meaning roughly "Oh, what a waste!"...

  • Over-consumption
    Over-consumption
    Over-consumption is a situation where resource-use has outpaced the sustainable capacity of the ecosystem. A prolonged pattern of overconsumption leads to inevitable environmental degradation and the eventual loss of resource bases...

  • Simple living
    Simple living
    Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These may include reducing one's possessions or increasing self-sufficiency, for example. Simple living may be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they need rather than want...

  • Thrifting
    Thrifting
    Thrifting refers to the act of shopping at a thrift store, flea market, garage sale, or a shop of a charitable organization, usually with the intent of finding interesting items at a cheap price....


External links