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New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in consumerism (1)


To Buy or not to Buy

If thinking is something you like to do, read on. Garth Brown argues that our modes of consumption and production present “the great moral problem of our time.” As I finish mindlessly stuffing another piece of Halloween candy into my mouth, I greatly appreciate this call to consider. Do we live purposefully? Do we make our choices with real usefulness in mind? -Editor

We should all provide our bodies with food. This has to come first, but the goal is to have a sound mind in a sound body. We also ought to provide our mind with its food, that is, things that build intelligence and judgment; but the goal is to be in a state in which we can serve our fellow citizens, our community, our country, the church, and therefore the Lord. (True Christianity 406)

Consumption is the great moral problem of our time. I say this not because it is the most obviously evil, but because it is the most opaque. History texts claim, or they did when I was in eighth grade, that industrialization standardized both the process of production and the product itself, and that this so increased efficiency that it led to more; more was produced more cheaply, and more people made enough money to buy more. I don't doubt the truth of this narrative, but it does not examine how, by moving labor and production from small shops to factories, from communities to industrial districts, it obscured the material and human conditions requisite to making a given product. And in the years since the continuation and acceleration of this trend have rendered production so complex, distant, and hidden that we are now unlikely to know in any real sense where a single thing we own came from.

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