on 26 June 2004
Although a book by an Australian economist may appear, at first, a somewhat dull prospect, Clive Hamilton's book is enthralling and inspiring from the word go.
Starting from the point that the aim of all governments of both left and right is that of economic growth, he argues that, despite steady economic growth, in the West over a number of years, we are none the happier for it. He argues that we should fight back against our consumerist tendencies, noting that many marketing campaigns are created even before the product exists and the product is then created to sell a lifestyle rather than producing something of benefit to anyone except those who profit financially from it. In order to take part in this frenzy of consumerism, we inevitably spend more of our time working longer and harder, leaving little free time to actually enjoy our lives and relationships with others around us. He notes that, after the 9/11 attacks, George W Bush urged the US public not to give in to terrorism by 'going out and shopping'! He argues that much of the crime and violence in society is due to our obsession for consumption noting that our current lifestyle is destroying the very planet we live on. He notes that if the rest of the world were to consume at the same rate as the USA, we would need 10 planet Earths to provide sufficient resources.
This book truly inspired me to re-assess my own lifestyle and has changed my life without a doubt. As Clive Hamilton argues, this is one revolution we can all take part in without the use of violence, simply by shopping and consuming less, whilst actually getting more from our lives.