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Date: 2024-07-16 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00003459

Stuff ... the makings of a 'Wastonomy'

The Stream tackles the subject of 'stuff' and consumerism with a great group of serious activists who are making a difference

This was a very good program ... the following are tweets made during the program when it was live

17 Oct Peter Burgess ‏@TrueValueMetric
#AJStream Because money profit is the central metric of modern economy, the result is consumerism that profits investors and guts society

17 Oct Peter Burgess ‏@TrueValueMetric
#AJStream The GDP growth metric also incentivises consumerism and waste while also wrecking environment

17 Oct Peter Burgess ‏@TrueValueMetric
@Trans4mCultures @AJStream Until the metrics are reformed it will be difficult to have and sustain change. This is why TrueValueMetrics

17 Oct Peter Burgess ‏@TrueValueMetric
#AJStream There was a time when economy meant economy, now an economy is actually a wastonomy. Productivity should be a really good thing!

17 Oct Peter Burgess ‏@TrueValueMetric
#AJStream When Adam Smith argued for the market economy, productivity was low and shortage was the norm. Now we have a surplus world ...

17 Oct Peter Burgess ‏@TrueValueMetric
#AJStream In a surplus world with money profit metrics you need advertising to create wants that we don't really want

17 Oct Peter Burgess ‏@TrueValueMetric
#AJStream The money profit incentive does not enable delivery of essential stuff to people who have no buying power. Bottom of Pyramid #BOP

The following is a post I have made on The Stream webpage for this program

Peter Burgess · Top Commenter · Founder, CEO at
This was a very good program... good guests and good discussion. One question however in these types of discussion that gets left out is the whole issue of metrics and incentives. With money profit as the dominant metric in economics then most big decisions are going to be made so that money profit is optimized. I argue that there has to be a broader metric that combines both money profit and social valuadd... in an accounting framework that is used by both business organizations, people and communities. It would have been almost impossible to implement such a system of metrics in the past, but now modern IT can enable such a system. Incentives can then be designed on top of this metric. It is high time the money profit laissez-faire capitalist market economy based on ideas of Adam Smith from 1776 are updated from his shortage world to the modern surplus world. This is what I am trying to do with TrueValueMetrics.

Peter Burgess

Redefining happiness ... Challenging consumerism.

IMAGE A woman walks past a sale display at Pitt Street shopping mall on December 23, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Many citizens of capitalist countries grow up in cultures that praise individualism and define success as owning bigger and better things. However, psychologists argue that a consumerist approach leaves many people unhappy. Some are challenging the consumption equals happiness mentality by intentionally living with less. So how are people altering the cycle of consumerism?

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Erik Assadourian @Trans4mCultures Senior Fellow, Worldwatch Institute

Annie Leonard @storyofstuff Co-Director, The Story of Stuff Project

Tom Shadyac Hollywood Film Director

What do you think? Is success defined by possessions?

Send us your questions and comments by leaving a comment on Facebook below or record a 30 second video for the show.

Read the paper StoryofChange in pdf form

Annie Leonard challenges conventional understandings of consumerism through The Story of Stuff Project. Exploring the social justice concerns that intersect with a product's life-cycle, Leonard exposes the harmful effects of contemporary consumption habits.

Uploaded by storyofstuffproject on Apr 22, 2009

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

And, for all you fact checkers out there,

Tom Shadyac transformed his Hollywood lifestyle to one he says led him to a happier life. Not only did Shadyac trade in his mansion for a mobile home, he also used the salary he earned from the comedy 'Bruce Almighty' to build a homeless shelter. He captured his new approach to life in the documentary, 'I Am'.

Uploaded by ClevverMovies on Dec 22, 2010 - Follow Us!

'I Am' hits theaters in February 2011.

Cast: Marc Ian Barasch, Coleman Barks, Noam Chomsky, Tom Shadyac, Desmond Tutu, Howard Zinn

Director Tom Shadyac speaks with intellectual and spiritual leaders about what's wrong with our world and how we can improve both it and the way we live in it.

I Am trailer courtesy Paladin. Category:

Although Americans consume more than ever, their overall rates of happiness remain stagnant. Graham Hill discusses why in his TED talk:

Uploaded by TEDtalksDirector on Oct 5, 2011 Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the 'Sixth Sense' wearable tech, and 'Lost' producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on, at

Netizens can learn how their own consumption links to modern-day slave labour through the interactive website The Slavery Footprint. Other online initiatives raising awareness about the risks of conspicuous consumption include Buy Nothing New Month and the Zero Waste Home blog.

Although hunger continues to be a global concern, food waste is on the rise. As the infographic below details, it may also have environmental consequences:

The infographic below shows the spending habits of the average American in 2009:

Consumer Expenditures (U.S. Dept. of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2009

A growing number of shoppers are practising consumer activism and ethical consumerism by choosing brands and products that 'create positive impact alongside financial return'. Below, sociologist Amitai Etzioni offers his opinion on why the newest products may not provide the satisfaction shoppers are looking for:

Netizens inspired by the consumerist theme have expressed their thoughts on the subject through short films. Below are three distinct takes on the topic:

Consumerism! The Musical is a satire and celebration of the culture we live in.

A new short from Whitestone Motion Pictures. You can download the ipod version at:

'This film is as much about myself than it is about anyone else. It's a satire on the way I sometimes live my life, even when I know better. I think the best satire is internal, much like we did for Smiling Addiction. It's less about being preachy, more about projecting myself into a farcical world.' -Brandon McCormick, Director


Uploaded by WenTV on Nov 24, 2009

Ever wonder where your stuff comes from? You're not the only one.
Opening sequence of KNOW YOUR STUFF! This episode looks at one of our favorite drinks: coffee.
Using a combination of live-action and animation, KNOW YOUR STUFF! follows Wen Lee as she zips off to Costa Rica in search of a coffee adventure. She tries her hand at coffee farming, chats with local farm workers, visits a coffee mill, and makes some astounding discoveries about the environmental, social, and economic impacts behind the coffee industry. It's amazing how such a simple drink can really be so complicated!
DVDs available for sale.
Questions? Contact WenTVinfo[at]
Watched the whole show and still want to learn more about coffee? Go to the end credits (Part 15) for a list of recommended resources: (click on 'more info' in the description box)

One television network is showcasing the consumer craze by launching a new series, 'My Shopping Addiction':

Published on Sep 11, 2012 by MyShoppingAddiction My Shopping Addiction will capture an intimate look into the lives of young people facing a crisis brought on by a dangerous addiction to shopping. Viewers will witness what happens when their obsession causes their finances and lives to spiral out of control.

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AJStream with
  • Erik Assadourian @Trans4mCultures Senior Fellow, Worldwatch Institute
  • Annie Leonard @storyofstuff Co-Director, The Story of Stuff Project
  • Tom Shadyac Hollywood Film Director

On Wednesday, October 17 at 19:30 GMT:
The text being discussed is available at
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