The idea of post-materialism interests me because it relates to my thoughts lately regarding a non-growth economy. I believe it is possible to have an economy based on sustainability rather than growth. We are constantly hearing about the desirability and importance of increased “economic growth” to get our economy “back on track.” But how much can our economy continue to grow? Growth means increased consumerism, more material goods being made in polluting factories, more cars on the road, ever more airplanes taking off and landing. In other words, the more the economy grows, the closer we come to destroying the environment and dealing with the effects of global warming or climate change. Perhaps we need to adopt a new attitude: “Less is more.”


My son’s home from university and one of our conversations turned to the economy and how hard it is to find even part-time, entry level work. He’s sent out something like 80 applications, done some interviews, and over the course of months, has just recently landed something part-time. The talk eventually wound around to the idea that my husband and I are post materialists. Now that’s not a term I know and my son delights in sharing what he has learned. As a parent, I love these times when the kids get to educate me. “So what are your girlfriend’s parents then?” I ask him. “Materialists”, he answers as if I should already know that. I actually did know that.

Anyway, further investigation on my part revealed that Ronald Inglehart developed the idea of post materialism in the 1970s as a sociological theory to explain an ongoing transformation of individual values…

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