Prufrock's Page

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What Money Can't Buy

"I have maxed out the Visa, moved on to the Citibank debit card, and am tapping the ATM like an Iraqi guerrilla pulling crude from the pipeline."

After that, writer Judith Levine decided to go a year without buying anything but essentials. Among other things, that meant no processed food, clothes, CDs or (gasp) books. An account of her withdrawal from the marketplace, Not Buying It, has just been published, and the Christian Science Monitor calls it an "engaging and thought-provoking chronicle"

Sadly, as the reviewer says, "Living without buying is hard, she confesses again and again, and not because she finds herself hungry, cold, or lacking any true essential. Rather, it's hard, she comes to realize because - like it or not - what we buy defines us. It gives us status, it creates a space for us, and it allows us to commune with others. To stop buying, Levine discovered, leaves one in a sometimes shadowy - and occasionally even boring - netherworld."


  • Thanks, sage, for this link. Being a bit of an anti-consumer myself, I find this line of thinking very refreshing. While I agree with buying giving us status and all that, I hazard to offer that it's all our own undoing. What we sow, so shall we and so on. This book only proves that it IS possible to buy less and have an identity more.

    By Anonymous Vijay Kumar, at 12:17 PM  

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