UCONN Hyper Capitalism Reflec

Reading: Hyper-Capitalism by Larry Gonick and Tim Kasser (2018). New York: The New Press

Reading Guide & Self-Reflection Exercises:

  1. Take the values survey and review the ten key values developed by Shalom Schwartz in the 1980s and 90s. Do you agree with these, why(not)? Are they ones you have thought about and/or ascribe to? If so, why and how? If not, why? (30 points)
  2. Page 62 discusses which values go together and which can be in conflict, using the example of Stimulation and Security. How do you see these contradictions play out in our society? (25 points)
  3. Page 65 shows the correlation between values in relation to intrinsic and extrinsic values (x-ais) and spirituality on the y-axis, and also introduces the idea that some values conflict (the see-saw effect). In America most people say they value EQUALITY and yet then we practice racism, sexism, and economic inequality. How do we as a society and you individually reconcile this seeming contradiction? (25 points)
  4. Page 66 describes ‘values trade off’ experiments done by Psychologist Kathleen Vohs who wanted to know whether people with MONEY on their minds behave differently from people who are thinking about something else. What do you think? (30 points)
  5. The answer is YES, there were significant behavioral changes between those PRIMED to think about MONEY and those not. How does this relate to our economy, our society, our media, our own thoughts and feelings about CLIMATE CHANGE? (30 points)
  6. On page 73, the author states “The pursuit of materialistic, extrinsic values suppresses intrinsic values such as community and universalism”, and asks “Is there an alternative?” to which the answer is “YES”. As an example, he looks at the “GREAT LAW OF THE IROQUOIS which once governed a Federation of Native Nations in Eastern Northern America (George Washington is said to have gotten the idea of the United States from this Federation see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Law_of_Peace). What does this GREAT LAW state? Why don’t we have a law like that and if we did how could it help address issues of climate change and social inequality? What is significant about looking to Indigenous cultures for insight into a more balanced system of values than those in mainstream western society? (30 points)
  7. Concluding Thoughts: How has this chapter invited you to look at your own values in both theory and practice, as many of us say we value X but then we go ahead and do Y. How can we be less contradictory in our values and our practices? How does looking at our economy from the perspective of values change how you understand it and consequently the climate crisis? (30 points)
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