Am I stoned?


Overconsumption (Affluenza)



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Overconsumption (Affluenza)

  • I = P x A x T (Human Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology)
  • U.S. = 4.5% of world’s population
    • Own 50% of the world’s wealth

Overconsumption (Affluenza)

  • U.S. responsible for: -25% of world’s energy consumption -33% of paper use -72% of hazardous waste production (1 ton/person/year)

But are we happier?

  • U.S. ranks 24th in citizen satisfaction with quality of life
  • Workloads increasing, vacation and free time decreasing

But are we happier?

  • U.S. only OECD country not to guarantee paid sick leave
    • 70% of full-time workers and 64% of private sector workers in U.S. have paid sick leave
      • Only 19% of part-time workers
    • Many cities, some states now guarantee

Guaranteed Paid Sick Leave: International Comparisons

Maternity Leave

  • US and Papua New Guinea only 2 countries which do not guarantee paid maternity leave
    • Lack of paid maternity leave linked to lower rates of breastfeeding and childhood immunizations and higher rates of infant and child mortality and depression in mothers

But are we happier?

  • Average American wastes 62 hrs/yr sitting in rush hour traffic
  • Average American working 200 more hrs/yr than in 1960 (#1 in world)
  • 8/10 Americans want a new job (CNNMoney.com, 11/03)
  • Loneliness, common among the elderly, linked to physical and cognitive decline and eclipses obesity as a predictor of early death

But are we happier?

  • Stress up / satisfaction with life down
  • 5% of U.S. population suffer from a serious mental illness
  • Anti-depressant use doubled between 1993 and 2005

But are we happier?

  • 1/10 Americans over age 6 currently taking a psychotropic medication
    • Pharmaceutical marketing plays a significant role
  • 8.7 million Americans considered suicide in 2011
    • 1.1 million attempted suicide

Erosion of social capital

  • Erosion of social capital is strongest where maldistribution of wealth is largest
  • Americans have an average of 2 close friends today
    • Down from 3 in 1985
  • Lack of social interaction as or more harmful than smoking, alcohol abuse, hypertension, obesity

Erosion of social capital

  • 1 in 4 Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss important matters
    • Includes nuclear family
    • Was 1 in 8 in 1985
  • “Most people can be trusted”

Maldistribution of Wealth

  • In countries with moderate levels of wealth, happiness is highest where income inequalities lowest and taxes most progressive
    • Major League Baseball: teams are more successful when players’ salaries are more equitably distributed
    • In more equal societies, people attend more cultural events, read more books

Wealth

  • Associated with:
    • Sense of entitlement
    • Less attention to lower classes
    • Presumption of superiority, “earned” rights
    • Less ethical behavior

The Booming Economy

  • Inflation-adjusted income of the median U.S. household
    • 1989 - $54,600
    • 1997 - $49,000
    • 2004 - $44,389
    • 2009 - $49,777
    • 2011 - $51,861

The Booming Economy

  • Weekly wages for the average American worker are up 9% from 1973, but productivity is up 72%
  • $3.6 trillion needed to repair nation’s infrastructure
    • Roads, bridges, water and sewer systems

Booming No Longer

  • Financial meltdown of 2008 →
  • Causes:
    • De-regulation of banks, insurance companies, and financial services companies via repeal of Glass-Steagall Act
    • Housing bubble, sub-prime mortgages
    • Greed
  • Requiring huge bailouts
  • Consumer Protection Agency may help

Vacation Time Down

  • Americans work more than any other country: 1970 hrs/yr
    • Canada (#2): 1800 hrs/yr
    • Industrialized EU countries: 1600-1800 hrs/yr
  • Many advocate 30 hour workweek

Vacation Time

  • Americans allotted 13 days leave per year (take less than 10)
    • Italy 42
    • France 37
    • UK 28
    • Canada 26
    • Japan 25

Minimum Wage ≠ Living Wage

  • Federal minimum wage = $7.25/hr
    • 25 states and DC have higher minimum wages (Oregon = $9.75/hr, 2017; will rise to $13.50 by 2022)
    • $10,423/yr for full-time job
  • Real value down 42% compared with 1968
  • Inadequate to pay rent, buy food and clothing

Minimum Wage ≠ Living Wage

  • Increasing to $9.25/hr on Jan 1, 2015
  • Movements supporting $15/hr (still inadequate)
  • Over ½ of nation’s basic public assistance funds go to working families (substitute for benefits, therefore, taxes support corporations)

Homeless

  • 3 million homeless (13-17% of homeless adults work)
    • 7% lifetime prevalence
    • 83,000 chronically homeless (decreasing)
  • Housing subsidies decrease homelessness
  • Combined income of 10 richest American’s could pay one year’s rent for every homeless person

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (Food Stamp) Program

  • Covers 26 million Americans
    • 35 million Americans (1/3 of them children) live in household that cannot consistently afford food)
  • $1.40/person/meal
  • 5-year residency requirement for adult legal immigrants
    • Undocumented immigrants not eligible
  • Inadequate signup rates


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