Shifting Chapter Summaries

Decent Essays

Chapter 5: This chapter focuses on the various individuals that have overcome societal pressure about continuous spending and have made commitments to reduce their consumerism habits. Schor tells us that people had realized that consumerism had taken over their lives and 75-80% believed that Americans had become too materialistic. They believed that the materialistic ideology may affect younger generations to come and their response to this was downshifting. The most common reasons to downshift were to have more time, less stress and live a more balanced life. Schor believes downshifting involves doing something more meaningful with one’s life, then just spending money on all the needs and desires.
Chapter 6: The final chapter communicates
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In the epilogue, her discussion on whether her solutions are viable and would they have catastrophic effects, got me thinking about what would actually happen if the world was to downshift. From my prior knowledge of economics, I have learnt that the market always finds an equilibrium and a way to readjust itself to suit the needs of the consumer. I believe the same would happen if people were to downshift; production of consumer goods would decrease and that would lead to lesser working hours, which means people would have more free time. While some people would enjoy this free time with their families, there are others who would spend this time on leisurely activities. This is where I think the market would readjust to. People would come out of the consumer good industry and the economy would become service based and most of the money would come from this sector. I would like to refer to an example to explain the concept that I have brought up here, which is the market readjusting itself to fulfill a need that is created by consumers. Back home in Mumbai it is really hot and commuting takes really long and most of the public transport does not have air conditioners in it. So there was a need to have a comfortable air conditioned transportation facility. To fill the need uber came about in India and has been a huge success story, because people do not mind paying a little extra for comfortable transportation. The government has also identified this change and opened a metro service in some areas that are air conditioned and more taxis are now becoming air conditioned. This is an example of what would happen if people created a new need by changing their lifestyle
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