Etkcs of Spending
The choices that individuals and families make in their use of income have been statistically reported, also discussed from an ethical point of view, in an earlier volume of this series (American Income and Its Use). The present study is limited to the reported practices and opinions of relatively small but scattered groups, whose backgrounds, occupations, and environments provided a considerable variety of points of view.1 Their viewpoints and their expressed or implicit views as to the use of income may be representative of what would be found in many other rural and urban communities throughout the nation; at least the reports of the discussions may stimulate the wider use of a similar process in exploring this field (the use of income), where individual and family decisions involve important ethical values.
Probably the most interesting discussions were those related to spending beyond the range of current or anticipated necessities. We have noted the persistence of security, status, and some other objectives as directing spending. The application of moral standards to spending, with the sacrifice of some values for the sake of others, was suggested as a topic for all groups, and some of them gave it considerable attention.
Specific questions for discussion included: "Does your conscience ever bother you when you buy things? What kind of things? What conditions? Do you ever find yourself torn between buying something just for pleasure and saving? Do you ever refuse to buy luxury items even though you can afford them? Do you ever find yourself upset about getting a lot of things when many people in the world are suffering from hunger, disease, distress? Do you ever do anything about it?"____________________