Cabrini Day speaker evaluates consumerism

By Amanda Carson
November 12, 2009

Shannon Keough

We should not let illusions manipulate our views on life. When we do, it negatively impacts our well-being and general happiness.

This was the main argument of this year’s Cabrini Day keynote speaker.

“There is this illusion that happiness comes from stuff,” Andrew Abela, associate professor marketing and chair-elect of the Department of Business and Economics at the Catholic University of America, said.

Abela has been featured on television and radio programs addressing the morality of our financial crisis, as well as ethics in advertising. He has also been published in academic and professional journals including “The Journal of Marketing, The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and The Journal of Markets and Morality.” His strong professional background in marketing and managing make him a knowledgeable speaker.

Abela said that consumerism has led many to have a lower satisfaction with life.

Abela used modern day metaphors and correlated them with traditional philosophical values to support his argument.

“A fish doesn’t know that it’s wet. You ever wonder if we are fish if we are living in illusions we aren’t even aware of,” Abela said.

According to Abela, consumerism has also blurred the fundamentals of Catholicism. In particular, our affirmed right to private property has been taken out of context.

“Consumerism has taught us that private property should be big things, not a basis for survival,” Abela said.

It also has driven society away from the spiritual, or religions. Furthermore, consumerism has instilled a focus on money, sex and power, which directly oppose the Church’s teachings of poverty, chastity and obedience.

If we are to engage in Catholic Social Teaching, such as Cabrini’s core “Justice Matters” curriculum, we need to not be manipulated by illusions.

We also should not underestimate the power of consumerism.

“If we underestimate how powerful it is we can’t change,” Abela said.

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Amanda Carson

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