Titel: The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain Since 1950
Autor/en: Avner Offer
OXFORD UNIV PR
April 2006 - gebunden - 454 Seiten
Since the 1940s Americans and Britons have come to enjoy an era of rising material abundance. Yet this has been accompanied by a range of social and personal disorders, including family breakdown, addiction, mental instability, crime, obesity, inequality, economic insecurity, and declining
Avner Offer argues that well-being has lagged behind affluence in these societies, because they present an environment in which consistent choices are difficult to achieve over different time ranges and in which the capacity for personal and social commitment is undermined by the flow of novelty.
His approach draws on economics and social science, makes use of the latest cognitive research, and provides a detailed and reasoned critique of modern consumer society, especially the assumption that freedom of choice necessarily maximizes individual and social well-being.
The book falls into three parts. Part one analyses the ways in which economic resources map on to human welfare, why choice is so intractable, and how commitment to people and institutions is sustained. It argues that choice is constrained by prior obligation and reciprocity. The second section then
applies these conceptual arguments to comparative empirical studies of advertising, of eating and obesity, and of the production and acquisition of appliances and automobiles. Finally, in part three, Offer investigates social and personal relations in the USA and Britain, including inter-personal
regard, the rewards and reversals of status, the social and psychological costs of inequality, and the challenges posed to heterosexual love and to parenthood by the rise of affluence.
Preface ; 1. Introduction ; PART ONE: EVALUATING AFFLUENCE ; 2. Economic Welfare Measures and Human Well-Being ; 3. Passions and Interests: Self-Control and Well-Being ; 4. Myopic and Rational Choice ; 5. Between the Gift and the Market: The Economy of Regard ; PART TWO: IN THE MARKETPLACE ; 6. The Mask of Intimacy: Advertising and Well-Being ; 7. Epidemics of Abundance: Body-Weight and Self-Control ; 8. Household Appliances and the Use of Time ; 9. The American Automobile Frenzy of the 1950s ; 10. Driving Prudently: American and European ; PART THREE: SELF AND OTHERS ; 11. Affluence and the Pursuit of Status ; 12. Inequality Hurts ; 13. All You Need is Love? Mating since the 1950s ; 14. Women and Children Last: The Ebbing of Commitment ; 15. Conclusion
Avner Offer is Chichele Professor of Economic History at the University of Oxford and Fellow of All Souls College. Prior to his academic career he spent eight years working as a soldier, farmer, and conservation worker in Israel, where he was born and raised. His other books include In Pursuit of the Quality of Life (1996), also published by Oxford University Press, and he has been researching the question of the quality of life in affluent societies since
the early 1990s. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy.
Offer has a profound knowledge and respect for the complex economic structures that have built our capitalist system. Stephanie Dyer, The Journal of American History