26 January 2010


“Even guys like Mr. Burns are going to have to change their ways,” says Utne Reader’s Editor in Chief David Schimke. The January-February issue of the magazine portrays The Simpsons’ favorite bad guy on its cover.

One would hope that Monty Burns and his brethren see the light. Still, as Amitai Etzioni says in the article, “Get Rich Now,” we are afflicted with the disease of consumerism. Here’s the diagnosis: “As long as consumption is focused on satisfying basic human needs—safety, shelter, food, clothing, health care, education—it is not consumerism. When the acquisition of goods and services is used to satisfy higher needs, such as self-esteem and self-actualization, however, consumption turns into consumerism—and consumerism becomes a social disease.”

What is needed, according to the author, is a new megalogue, which involves “millions of members of a society.” The megalogue that is needed is not so much about regulation as it is “to ask people to reconsider what a good life entails.”

Jesus’ warning about serving Mammon (Mt 6:24) sounds wiser all the time. I think he actually knows what he’s talking about!

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