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Technology & Innovation

It’s the End of Material Culture as We Know it and I Feel Fine

Clothes dryer? Try a rack. Microwave? Light up the stove. Dishwasher? Your two hands are just fine. In recalculating their household expenses, Americans seem to be discovering the recession doesn’t always make you a total luddite.

Just three years ago we were seeing a high point when just about everything–the family car, the Maytag, an AC, and the old landline–was considered highly necessary. Throw in the worst recession in half a century and how our views on “stuff” changes. There are double-digit declines for the percent of Americans saying they truly need to fill up their house with previously essential household appliances.

Pew reported the changes recently and, not surprisingly, respondents most likely to note a changing relationship toward the material world had also lost a job.

Still dubious of the collective environmental footprint that humanity has when they amass stuff with lemming-like dedication? Consider some visuals from artist Chris Jordan whose work with airline cups makes the number 4 million very concrete.


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