maybe these questions are better than the ones we’ve been asking that focus entirely on the production/distribution of objects/actions (is it reclaimed, reused or recycled?) because they consider what a thing will be used for as well.
Does what I own or buy promote activity, self-reliance, and involvement, or does it induce passivity and dependence?
Are my consumption patterns basically satisfying or do I do I buy much that serves no real need?
How tied is my present job and lifestyle to installment payments, maintenance and repair costs, and the expectations of others?
Do I consider the impact of my consumption patterns on other people and on the earth? – (Duane Elgin came up with these in his book “Voluntary Simplicity”)
At worst these questions promote or insinuate some hippy/anti-establishment bullshit. At best they help us further consider and define the boundaries between Hannah Arendt’s notions of Work, Labor and Action. Needs, I think, are as connected to Action as they are to labor. But I’ve always been so leery of the way consumer consciousness (voting with dollars) plays right into the problem of addictive consumption/materialism. Oi, vey! you’re leaving brooklyn