The Cost of Our Escapist Consumer Society

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 5, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Cost of Our Escapist Consumer Society


Byline: By Martin Shipton Western Mail

A staggering amount of public money is being spent putting right the social ills caused by people trying to escape the pressures of our consumer-orientated society, according to a new report.

Dr Molly Scott Cato, of Cardiff Business School, has totted up the cost of a range of 'escape mechanisms', including alcohol abuse, illegal drugs, depression, gambling and smoking. She estimates the total annual drain on the British economy at pounds 53.5bn, very close to the pounds 54bn cost of the health service.

The pounds 53bn total is made up of:

Alcohol pounds 20bn

Illegal drugs pounds 20bn

Depression pounds 9bn

Gambling pounds 3bn

Smoking pounds 1.5bn

When other activities such as shopping and makeovers are taken into account the figure would go even higher.

The report - Counting the Costs - includes an introduction by Sir Mark Tully, the distinguished former India correspondent of the BBC and an essay by Jeremy Seabrook, the journalist and social commentator.

Produced jointly by the India-based Centre for Holistic Studies and the New Era Coalition, the report argues there is a considerable downside to our consumer-led society which extends into mainstream lifestyles including obsessive shopping, the consumption of junk food and even holiday 'mini-breaks'.

Areas of concern like this have a cost over and above the quantifiable social ills outlined by Dr Scott Cato.

Mr Seabrook writes, 'Addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, escape, perpetual mobility, gambling, hypochondria, shopping, junk food, junk culture has transformed society into an unquiet, violent and restless compulsive disorder.

'Perpetual dissatisfaction is the basis on which economic growth and expansion is now predicated; a profound psychic disturbance of people who cannot rest or accept, not merely the social circumstances of their lives, but even the existential necessities of being human: but must change the way they look, prevent the effects of time on their bodies, turn back the clock, change their identity, transcend the low self-esteem of a self which oppresses and weighs down the turbulent spirit.

'The preoccupation with images, appearances, surfaces, makeovers, individual transformations, suggests something more than a natural human desire for improvement; rather, a mystical chase after transcendence, paradoxically through a materialism which renders this impossible.'

Dr Scott Cato uses official statistics to work out how much the negative aspects of our contemporary lifestyle is costing, prefacing her calculations with the statement, 'It is one of the direst indictments of developed economies that people are so dissatisfied that they need to find a multitude of means of escape.'

The total measurable cost of the major social problems she refers to is equivalent to 14% of entire government spending. How we escape from modern life: Tourism

THE classic form of escapism from the pressure of the economic system is 'getting away from it all' by taking a holiday. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Cost of Our Escapist Consumer Society
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.