Consumption in itself is bad for the planet, no matter how you cut it. Material things are generally made from finite resources (like how oil is made into plastic); so the less we buy the better we treat the planet.
This isn’t hard to do. In fact, it’s easier for people who have high self-esteem. Apprently, some new reseach is out that argues that the more confidence an individual has the less likely it is that they will buy material objects for comfort.
“By the time children reach early adolescence, and experience a decline in self-esteem, the stage is set for the use of material possessions as a coping strategy for feelings of low self-worth,” they write in the study, which will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research.
The paradox that findings such as these bring up, is that consumerism is good for the economy but bad for the individual. In the short run, it’s good for the economy when young people believe they need to buy an entirely new wardrobe every year, for example. But the hidden cost is much higher than the dollar amount. There are costs in happiness when people believe that their value is extrinsic. There are also environmental costs associated with widespread materialism.
I guess this can be further backed up by examples that billionaires don’t like spending their money.