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The American Dream: fat and unhappy

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday December 13, 2008 12:48 AM

I read this item with the deepest possible pleasure:

Controlling for demographics and income, homeowners do not report higher levels of well-being by any measure in this data set. In fact, they report to be less healthy, derive less joy from love and relationships, spend less time with friends and on active leisure, and also experience less positive affect during time spent with friends. Their time use patterns reveal little evidence of them being "better citizens"....

[H]omeowners derive more pain (but no more joy) from both their home and their neighborhood. They are also more likely to be 12 pounds heavier.... The average homeowner .... is also less likely to... enjoy being with people.... Overall, these results point to negative feelings... related to homeownership, although less healthy individuals might have self-selected to be homeowners.

I'm such a giddy optimist: I can actually hope that the long-overdue collapse of the house market will exorcise the idiotic, stultifying American fetish for "owning" these shabby knocked-together hideous mashups of low-grade pinewood and sheetrock. (The quotes around "owning" are there because nearly all supposed and self-described owners actually live in a mortgaged house whose real owner is the bank.)

Now if somebody would just study the psychic damage arising from the other great American fetish, the automobile....

Comments (4)


oh u sour-meister


i propose a toast:

to the class struggle
and its ever re-emerging
from its own asshole


Now if somebody would just study the psychic damage arising from the other great American fetish, the automobile....

This guy http://www.consumertrap.com/ Michael Dawson studies Automobile Capitalism. In fact he has written a book by the name "Automobiles Ueber Alles , Corporate Capitalism and Transportation in America". You can find plenty by this man on Web on that theme. He is very good.

Wow, thanks, Ajit! Alas, I'm still penning the book...

Raymond Williams said cars foster "mobile privatization." Self-centered bubble living, where other humans are merely obstacles seen through glass.

Another way to look at that problem is sheer spatial logic. Cars-first cities are by definition sprawling and atomizing. Hardly the optimum conditions for democracy...

The physical health consequences are almost too obvious to mention. Americans don't walk or bicycle.

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