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Do Americans Shop Too Much? (New Democracy Forum) Paperback – April 24, 2000

ISBN-13: 004-6442004435 ISBN-10: 080700443X Edition: First Printing

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Product Details

  • Series: New Democracy Forum
  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; First Printing edition (April 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080700443X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807004432
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Do Americans shop too much? Yes, but there's one more thing they should buy-this book, which offers lucid new perspectives on what drives us to the mall.--Barbara Ehrenreich

"Juliet Schor manages to insert a new question into our politics, and not a moment too soon. May the reactions to her ideas be the beginning of a robust public discussion, not merely an academic discourse. These issues will leap off the page at every reader who has ever wondered about why on earth he's living the way he is."--Bill McKibben

"I read everything that is written by Juliet Schor. The reasons are clear and compelling. She is a fine writer, always has something new and important to say, and always I am persuaded and grateful. So with this excellent piece of work."--John Kenneth Galbraith

About the Author

Author of The Overworked American and The Overspent American, Juliet Schor is professor of economics at Harvard University.

Customer Reviews

Except for books, of course; buying books is GOOD!
R. Kelly Wagner
Americans engage in way too much consumption and do have no regard for the environment, and society as a whole is suffering as a result.
BOB
It is just too bad that we live in a society where most people don't even bother to think about what and why they shop.
Melissa Hayes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By R. Kelly Wagner on October 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was afraid, when I was ordering this book, that even though the topic interests me, the book would be dry and academic. However, it isn't - it's well written, and easy to follow, not overladen with academic studies. Schor's basic thesis is that Americans used to be satisfied with keeping up with the Joneses down the street, in their own neighborhood, but now we feel we must keep up with the rich and famous we see on TV.
In the introduction, Ralph Nader mentions another book, _Fat and Mean : The Corporate Squeeze of Working Americans and the Myth of Managerial 'Downsizing'_, which is also worth reading. Add to that another book, _Why We Buy : The Science of Shopping_, which I've also read. It's about how marketers induce people to shop and buy. Taken together, the three books will make you think, and definitely give you a basis for rejecting overt commercialism. You'll think twice about your next purchase in a store! (Except for books, of course; buying books is GOOD!) _
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Murphy on April 13, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The books is broken down into three sections: first there is a section by Schor on America's obsession w/ shopping, why and how to fix (mostly a scaled down recap of her previous books). The second sections is an evaluation of Schor's ideas by a series of economists. Some like here theories but disagree on resoltions, some just don't like what she has to say. Finally, the last section is her response to these evaluations.
It's a really great primer on the subject and gives you an opportunity to see many points of view. Hopefully with that you can make your own decision on causes, effects and solutions.
When I first got it and realized that it was laid out this way, I was a little disappointed, but ended up very glad that they did this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
In Do Americans Shop Too Much?, Harvard economist Juliet Schor (with the assistance of Robert Frank, Michele Lamont, Lawrence Mishel and others) traces the current over consumption trends of American consumers influenced by media presentations of affluence. Calling for Americans to see private consumption in the light of public costs and consequences (including debt burdens, interest rate erosions on disposable income, etc.) Schor suggests a consumer movement in which people re-evaluate their basic needs versus media and advertising induced desires, placing instead, new, more financially conservative and budget-friendly values on family, leisure and community time. Enhanced with an informative Foreword by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, Do Americans Shop Too Much? is clearly written and highly accessible reading recommended for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in financial management, the impact of culture on spending habits, and the influence of media on personal and family financial behavior.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Cunningham on July 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you're like me, you loved Schor's previous work, The Overworked American and The Overspent American. I found them to be well written as well as thought provoking. This work, however, does follow in this pattern.
First of all, contrary to the clever marketing, the vast majority of it is not written by Schor at all. It's basically a Schor tribune book. A bunch of far lesser known scholars put forth their theories on consumption in a sort of reply to what Schor has said in her previous research.
Further, what these other scholars have to say is just not that interesting. It doesn't fill a void in our collective knowledge the way that Schor's original work did.
Overall, I think this book is a pretty shameless attempt to cash in on Schor's popularity. However, there are a few interesting points and for those most interested in consumption research, it may be worth a read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Warren Fritze on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
Something is happening here, in the United $tates. We're experiencing a great slow-down of our economy, the once vibrant job-market is slowing in job openings, recent grades from our public school systems are near or at a decline, the youth of the United $tates are quickly taking a lead in debt, and yet, people continue to spend. GW Bush recently let loose some of our tax dollars, to try and stir up the economy. More money in our pockets, the economist figure, the more money we'll spend. The more money we spend, the greater the economy will be.
But, something just isn't working. As the Feds reduce the prime interest rate by small increments, unemployeement still rises. What is it that we're doing wrong? Maybe we're buying too much junk?
A retooling of our economy, and the good produced, and how these goods affect our nation, our families, and our selves, is needed. Juliet Schor's book is an incredible tool for this purpose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adam Schumaker on October 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
After finishing Schor's Do Americans Shop Too Much, I came to have a great appreciation for the democracy forum that the book is structured in. Although Schor's writing dominates the book, I found the contributing authors to be just as important. Not only did they give different perspectives to the debate, but I thought that some, especially Robert Frank, had better ideas on how to curb the ridiculous amount of consumption in America. This is why I enjoyed the book; it allowed me to be critical of the author's ideas and enabled me to choose the theories I agree with.

The first concept that struck me in Schor's "New Politics of Consumption," was that well before I was born many people already believed America had a consumption problem. Schor states, "...in the 1960s and early 1970s, a far reaching critique of consumer culture was a part of our political discourse." (p. 3) This makes me unable to compare today's culture with an America that did not over consume. Coming from this viewpoint, it was a challenging and interesting process to step back and analyze the culture I am a part of. Schor refers to the current culture of consumption as "The New Consumerism."(p. 7)

An integral part of "The New Consumerism" is the idea of "...competitive consumption..." (p. 8) Schor's idea is that people are consuming materialistic products at a high rate because they want to have what the "...social group with which they identify..." has. (p.8) Schor says that although in the 50's people identified with their neighbors down the street, they now identify with the people they see on TV who have much higher standards of living. This in turn takes consumption to a much higher level, where people are spending more than they have to compete with those in higher classes. (p.
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