Business Q&A: Tim Kasser

From the Peoria Journal Star:

Tim Kasser is a professor who heads the psychology department at Knox College. He’s published several books: “The High Price of Materialism,” “Psychology and Consumer Culture” (with Allen Kanner) and “Environmental Challenges: The Role of Human Identity” (with Tom Crompton)”

Q: How does business fit into your psychology classes?
A: I don’t teach business at Knox but I do teach a class called “Alternatives to Consumerism” that presents workable alternatives to our current economic system…. But we’re always told that capitalism is the American way…. Maximization of profit in the service of self-interest is the way America’s economy is organized. The data suggest that this way is not optimal if we aim to create a sustainable planet, the equitable distribution of wealth, or the general well-being of the populace.

Q: What do you suggest?
A: Just as there are different varieties of Christianity, there are varieties of capitalism. The capitalist model used in Scandinavia, for example, is quite different from our own. It seems to work, given that their people live longer than we do, that they are more ecologically sustainable, and that UNICEF finds their children to be happier and healthier than ours…