Today, individuals own more material objects than ever before; from cars to TVs, clothes to knick knacks. We walk around looking for the latest trends in the palms of our hands, thanks to our smart phones. Culture dictates the value of our materials, slowly blurring the lines between our wants and our needs. Turn on any TV or look in any magazine, and it seems like a never ending advertisement...something to consume constantly.
Despite materialism and consumerism becoming a growing problem, it is nothing new. Owning particular material goods have traditionally been linked with power, wealth, and a key factor in identity. While materialism may be considered a personal psychological issue, society has repeatedly played center stage.
Rationale for Teaching
According to a Federal Trade Commission study, “In 2004, children were exposed to 25,600 television ads, spanning 10,700 minutes”. (Holt, D., 2007) Individuals are growing up surrounded by materials in a consumer driven world. With the lines between wants and needs becoming increasingly blurred, many of today’s generation of learners do not comprehend the causes or effects of their desires. While we all strive for a better, happier, and fulfilled life, are all of these material objects really worth what they seem?
- Materialism involves a struggle between needs and wants
- Value is placed on objects depending on culture/beliefs
- Balance or imbalance in materialism can impact people, communities, and the world
- How are needs and wants determined?
- What determines value?
- How do decisions affect our balance with ourselves, society, and the nature of the world?