1st Edition

Consumerism, Sustainability, and Happiness How to Build a World Where Everyone Has Enough

By Cynthia Kaufman Copyright 2023
    150 Pages
    by Routledge

    150 Pages
    by Routledge

    What would it take to have a world where everyone had enough? How can we eliminate poverty, leave enough for nonhuman nature, and increase well-being? This book explores ways the reader can live their life, engage with cultural change, and engage with policy making, to build that world.

    We are presently on a path to environmental destruction, as our societies are driven by forces which leave many people without what they need to meet their basic needs, while also wasting vast resources on an unsatisfying consumer economy. The current system does not lead to a sense of wellbeing, even among those who are relatively materially comfortable. This book focuses on solutions for building a world of enough. It explains how we can reorient our thinking and take the steps necessary to transform our social systems. It looks at ways to reduce the insatiable desire for status and consumption that drive our economies. It focuses on emerging approaches to economics that take well-being as their goal and explores the policies that are crucial for getting there, such as reducing inequality, investing in public goods, and reducing work time. The book arms the reader with a variety of tools for building a world where everyone has enough for a good life.

    1. Happiness, Poverty, Sustainability  2. The Psychology of Enough  3. Building a Life with Enough  4. Economics Based on Scarcity and Infinite Growth  5. Capitalism, Socialism, and Solidarity Economics  6. Eliminating Extreme Poverty and Developing an Economics for Enough  7. Policies and Politics to Get to a World of Enough


    Cynthia Kaufman is the Director of the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action De Anza College and is the author of Challenging Power, The Sea Is Rising and So Are We, Getting Past Capitalism, and Ideas for Action.

    "Cynthia Kaufman captures the essence of the intertwining crises that embroil our world: excessive and wasteful consumption patterns that fuel growing inequalities, political conflict, subjective feelings of emptiness, and the climate catastrophe that threatens life itself. She maps out a range of viable and achievable solutions capable of challenging structures of domination and ameliorating our plight. This book is a must read for those seeking answers to a range of pressing contemporary conundrums, one that will have relevance for years to come."

    Ron Hayduk, Professor of Political Science, San Francisco State University

    "In these dark times, Cynthia Kaufman’s book, Consumerism, Sustainability, and Happiness, brilliantly illuminates a pathway to a better world. It is not an easy path; it goes through rough terrain and requires overcoming obstacles created by vested interests. But with her careful, calm, and hopeful arguments, Kaufman persuades us that it is a path that we must follow."

    Fred Block, Research Professor of Sociology, University of California, Davis

    "Philosopher Cynthia Kaufman helps us understand how our lives can be more complete with less. In another compelling book that combines ideas and practice, she makes changes in our living "standards" look as easy as they are essential. A must read for the perplexed as well as the committed."

    Kathryn Sklar, Author of Florence Kelley and the Nation’s Work

    "Cynthia Kaufman’s new book Consumerism, Sustainability and Happiness: How to Build a World Where Everyone Has Enough is exactly what we need in today’s fight for climate and environmental justice. Kaufman’s tactical approach is a breath of fresh air, providing practical solutions to not only help us live more sustainably as individuals, but also to push for the needed systemic change that will help us achieve a more just and livable future for all. Centering the topics of happiness, poverty, and environmental sustainability for what it would mean to have "enough" and feel satisfied in our lives, Kaufman emphasizes discourses that we need to see more popularized in mainstream and environmentalist circles: the centering of wellbeing, valuing people over profits, reducing work time, the causes and historical legacies of poverty, capitalist logics that keep us from achieving our best potential as a human species, and the fallacies of the overpopulation issue, to name a few. Importantly, Kaufman also stresses the significance of individual action as a way to create cultural change, while also eschewing narratives of individual consumer responsibility as the sole way to make systemic change. Indeed, this book makes transparent how powerful structural forces upheld by many institutions today can be challenged and held accountable. Kaufman’s writing is clear, approachable, and boils down difficult concepts so that anyone can immediately start acting in more sustainable ways and challenge existing power structures so as to help bring about a just transition."

    Belinda Ramírez, PhD, Stanford University Civic, Liberal, and Global Education (COLLEGE) Fellow