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Book Review

Book Review T. Kasser. The High Price of Materialism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002. ISBN 0‐262‐11268‐X (165 pp., $24.95). In The High Price of Materialism , Tim Kasser suggests that the pursuit of materialistic values emerges out of unmet needs for security and safety. These materialistic pursuits not only fail to quench our unmet needs but, in turn, lead to a vast array of negative outcomes. Thus, materialism is the lynchpin in a vicious cycle of unhappiness, alienation, and social decay. This cycle will sound familiar to anyone with even a passing exposure to the work of Maslow or Rogers, or even humanistic psychology in general. Indeed, it resonates with the conventional wisdom that “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” What sets this book apart is that these ideas are supported here by rigorous empirical research. Almost to a fault, Kasser shows a tenacious insistence on concrete research evidence to support his thesis that materialism is associated with unhappiness, mental illness, poor relationships, and disregard for preserving the goods of the environment. This is a diminutive book (165 pages) with big aspirations. Tracing the role of materialism in human misery, Kasser calls for a rethinking of our very social order. Kasser first http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
1529-7489
eISSN
1530-2415
DOI
10.1111/j.1530-2415.2003.00027.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

T. Kasser. The High Price of Materialism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002. ISBN 0‐262‐11268‐X (165 pp., $24.95). In The High Price of Materialism , Tim Kasser suggests that the pursuit of materialistic values emerges out of unmet needs for security and safety. These materialistic pursuits not only fail to quench our unmet needs but, in turn, lead to a vast array of negative outcomes. Thus, materialism is the lynchpin in a vicious cycle of unhappiness, alienation, and social decay. This cycle will sound familiar to anyone with even a passing exposure to the work of Maslow or Rogers, or even humanistic psychology in general. Indeed, it resonates with the conventional wisdom that “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” What sets this book apart is that these ideas are supported here by rigorous empirical research. Almost to a fault, Kasser shows a tenacious insistence on concrete research evidence to support his thesis that materialism is associated with unhappiness, mental illness, poor relationships, and disregard for preserving the goods of the environment. This is a diminutive book (165 pages) with big aspirations. Tracing the role of materialism in human misery, Kasser calls for a rethinking of our very social order. Kasser first

Journal

Analyses of Social Issues & Public PolicyWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2003

References