A review by Daniel Murray of the article In Search of the Affluent Society by Allen Johnson. Comparing French middle-class couple with Machiguenga indians of Peru along the Amazon.

Essay by ruin204University, Bachelor'sA+, December 2004

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It is a question of quality vs. quantity. Does the consumption of as many things as possible lead us to that happiness we all so desperately desire? And as technology develops and production becomes more efficient, does that mean we now have more free time to relax and enjoy life? Two views are suggested in this article; the first being ours, to never be satisfied with what you have and always strive for more, the second is called the Buddhist view, to be at peace with what is and learn to be satisfied with less.

It is a comparison of the simple life seen as nasty, brutish and short vs. the developed life of ease, affluence and marvel. When looking at the differences between middle-class couples in France and Machiguenga Indians of Peru along the Amazon, most of us would find it difficult to see the Machiguenga as being more affluent.

The Machiguenga grow food in gardens, hunt, fish, and collect wild plants. They share similar male/female workloads as the French couples. The Machiguenga enjoy a wide variety of foods producing double the amount needed for daily consumption. They are a peaceful people, enjoy good humor, have a close relationship with nature and are especially known for their high integrity. They also place no pressure on time and each task is allotted as much time as needed.

Studies were done to compare how each group spends its time. Time was broken down into three groups, production time (work), consumption time (using what was produced, eating, leisure), and free time (relaxation, sleeping, talking amongst). The study found that the French worked more hours, consumed more hours and had much less free time. The end conclusion of the study was that modern technology has not resulted in less work and especially...