EP 415: The Economics of Being Needy with Mara Glatzel
We all have deep human needs—for belonging, for autonomy, for creative expression, for safety and security. But modern life can make it a real challenge to get those needs met in meaningful ways. Instead, we’re offered products with flashy marketing messages. Kitchen gadgets, social media platforms, clothing, personal care products, and many others offer to help us live our best lives. Financial and educational products promise a greater sense of security and autonomy. But do these commodities really satisfy our needs? Or do they merely stave off the hunger a little longer?
In this final episode of The Economics Of, I explore how various economic concepts can help us understand why we buy the things we do, how our consumption relates to larger economics forces, and how our relationships are influenced by it all. I also talk with Mara Glatzel, the author of Needy, about how to better understand our own needs and create the conditions through which we can get those needs met.
- Get your copy of Needy by Mara Glatzel
- Learn more about Mara Glatzel
- “Varieties of the Rat Race: Conspicuous Consumption in the US & Germany” by Till Van Treeck, via the Institute for New Economic Thinking
- “Trickle-Down Consumption” by Marianne Bertrand and Adair Morse in The Review of Economics and Statistics
- “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844” by Karl Marx
Adam Smith’s America by Glory M. Liu
Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman
- “Alienation” on Overthink with David Pena-Guzman and Ellie Anderson
- More on Thorstein Veblen via Investopedia
Everything, All the Time, Everywhere by Stuart Jeffries
Liquid Love by Zygmunt Bauman
New episodes are published in essay form every Thursday at explorewhatworks.com. Get them delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge, by subscribing to What Works Weekly: explorewhatworks.com/weekly
If you’d like to learn more about how we can approach life and work differently, check out my book, What Works. I explore the history and cultural context that’s led us to this success-obsessed, productivity-oriented moment. Then I guide you through deconstructing those messages and rebuilding a structure for work-life that works.
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