chapter  5
26 Pages

Competition: Getting, Spending, and Losing,

MONEY PLAYS A BIG PART in America’s culture of divi-sion. The U.S. market economy encourages consuming andgetting ahead of others in a never-fulfilled quest for the good life and the American Dream. The United States uses more of the planet’s resources than any other nation, and its citizens are known throughout the world for their excessive drive to acquire consumer goods. Not that Americans invented the idea of consumerism. People have acquired goods in excess of their basic needs around the world and throughout time-beginning in Ancient Babylon, China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. But in ancient times the production and exchange of most goods was a local affair, limited by what a community could make or find. Usually most items were in relatively short supply.