Course Number: POLS 13181-9
Instructor: Amitava Dutt
The subject of the course is consumption and the extent to which it makes us happy. The course asks: Does money buy happiness? Is it true, as a bumper sticker proclaims: He who dies with the most toys wins? This seminar will examine views on the meaning of happiness, what the evidence suggests about whether more income and consumption increases happiness, and the causes and effects of increases in consumption at the individual and social levels. Helping to relate our personal lives to scholarly research, the seminar cover a wide range of issues such as: the phenomenon of “keeping up with the Joneses”; the use of social media; the problems of seeking both comfort and stimulation; religion, consumption and happiness; consumption and the environment; consumption, community and politics; and consumer debt and financial crises.