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December 19, 2011 — The holiday season reminds us that we Americans live in a material culture. Our economy depends on how much product we make, buy, and sell. So far, so good. But now, “Occupiers” around the nation point to our country’s top 1 percent as greedy moneymakers who use their wealth to their own advantage, at times at the expense of others.

In the U.S. $150 billion is spent every year to embed consumer messages, the essence of which is this: that the good life is available through the goods life. Conversely, research indicates the road to happiness isn’t about how much we have or what we have — it’s about how much we love and how much we share. Without buying and selling goods, our economy collapses. But unchecked consumerism produces suffering. Is it possible to find a balance?

Dr. Dan Gottlieb explores greed. What is it and how does it affect us? And how does generosity serve as an investment that can yield satisfying friendships and marriages — and strengthen communities. Dan’s guests include Tim Kasser and Polly Young-Eisendrath.

Tim Kasser is a professor and Chair of Psychology at Knox College in Illinois. He writes and lectures extensively on the topics of consumerism and materialism. His most recent book is The High Price of Consumerism.

Polly Young-Eisendrath is a Jungian analyst, a psychologist and an author. She is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Vermont and Consultant in Leadership Development at Norwich University. She’s written The Self-Esteem Trap. Her next book will be about mindful love.

Photo by Flickr user Ken Fager

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