Economic Crisis and a Cultural Tipping Point?
It seems to me that there is different feel to this downturn than the previous ones at least in my short life of 35 years. In addition to just cutting costs and going into hibernation for a while, it seems that many are deeply re-assessing their lifestyles, and whats truly important in their lives. Does this recession represent a potential turning point in north American consumerist culture? Have we reached a tipping point of excess, and living beyond our means? It seems that many of the comments that I read from people as they discuss their feelings on the current economic crisis focus more on how they are re-evaluating how they live over the long term. Its not just the people losing their jobs but even those that are secure in their income. Is it the natural evolution of modern development, and transcendence up the needs hierarchy, to a point that people begin to realize that unbounded consumerism does not increase personal happiness?
The unfortunate situation however is that the world as a whole will not learn from this. As develping nations start to come into their own with a growing middle class (just like the US did in the mid 20th century), there is a whole new, and much larger group of consumers coming up behind ready to test the consumption = happiness theory.