How much is enough?

Curious June 2014
Excess vs Minimalism, Consumerism, and Wealth

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the difference between having what we need and having what we want?
  • What is the difference between wanting what we have and having what we want?
  • What is wealth? What is the difference between material wealth and intrinsic wealth?
  • How does the American culture of consumerism and spending differ from Europe and other nations? (ex Germany)


  • No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. -Matthew 6:24
  • Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. -Ecclesiastes 5:10
  • Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. -Proverbs 13:11
  • For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? -Mark 8:36
  • For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. -1 Timothy 6:7-10
  • Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:19-21
  • Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf. -Proverbs 11:28

  • “The less you own, the less owns you”
  • “Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens”
  • “Some people are so poor, all they have is money”
  • “Minimalism is not a lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something.”

NPR: Why Americans Spend Too Much

TED Talk – Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice
All of this choice has two effects, two negative effects on people. One effect, paradoxically, is that it produces paralysis, rather than liberation. With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all. -starts at 7:44
And what happens is this imagined alternative induces you to regret the decision you made, and this regret subtracts from the satisfaction you get out of the decision you made, even if it was a good decision. The more options there are, the easier it is to regret anything at all that is disappointing about the option that you chose. -starts at 10:14
Adding options to people’s lives can’t help but increase the expectations people have about how good those options will be. And what that’s going to produce is less satisfaction with results, even when they’re good results. Nobody in the world of marketing knows this, because if they did, you wouldn’t all know what this was about. -starts at 13:58

Music Video – Macklemore: Wing$
We want what we can’t have, commodity makes us want it
So expensive, damn, I just got to flaunt it
Got to show ’em, so exclusive, this that new shit
A hundred dollars for a pair of shoes I would never hoop in
Look at me, look at me, I’m a cool kid
I’m an individual, yeah, but I’m part of a movement
My movement told me be a consumer and I consumed it
They told me to just do it, I listened to what that swoosh said
Look at what that swoosh did
See it consumed my thoughts
Are you stupid, don’t crease ’em, just leave ’em in that box
Strangled by these laces, laces I can barely talk
That’s my air bubble and I’m lost if it pops
We are what we wear, we wear what we are
But see I look inside the mirror and think Phil Knight tricked us all
Will I stand for change or stay in my box
These Nikes help me define me, but I’m trying to take mine off

-starts at 1:50