Economic materialism

From Academic Kids

This article addresses materialism in the economic sense of the word. For information on the philosophical and scientific meanings, see materialism.

Materialism refers to how a person or group chooses to spend their resources, particularly money and time. Literally, a materialist is a person for whom collecting material goods is an important priority. In common use, the word more specifically refers to a person who primarily pursues wealth and luxury.Sometimes such a person displays conspicuous consumption.

Many believe that a "considered" and "realistic" form of materialism leads to economic behaviors supporting a sustainable community.To affirm realism in your material world visit thrift shops and go to Saturday morning garage sales. See also post materialism, consumerism, recycling, and compost.


Just as well, using transformative grammar to explain materialism in the language of cultural anthropology and political science, a sharp distinction between the philosophical definition and the 'scientific' defintion occurs. In the language paradigms of Cultural Materialism and political science, materialism corresponds with states of consciousness which arise from interaction with a society's physical environment. Cultural Materialists analyse cultures using what is known as the Universal Set. The Universal set has three basic units, infrastructure, structure and superstructure. Every society has these three elements. The infrastructure of a community is the physical landscape. The structure is the economic systems used to manage the resources. Structure can be divided into at least two different types of economies, domestic economy and political economy. The former relates how family and kinship groups interact with their environments to meet their basic needs while the latter deals with trade and relations between family and kinship groups. As societies become more complex, the political economy becomes more complex. The global marketplace has made many societies' political economies interact. In the third and final paradigm is the superstructure. The superstructure consists of abstract ideals and philosophies imbodied in law, religion, culture, and art. Many theories exist as how these abstract ideas arise from a society's infrastructure. See Marvin Harris, Antonio Gramsci, Karl Marx, Max Weber or Bryan Haden.


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