This Dead Dutchman Teaches Us That 'Consumerism' Isn't Always A Bad Thing

07/07/2014 10:36 am ET | Updated Jul 07, 2014
Allie_Caulfield/Flickr

We’re deeply suspicious of the word ‘consumerism’; it’s become a stick with which to beat the modern world. Yet consumerism doesn’t have to be stupid. At its best, what the word refers to is a love of the fruits of the earth, a delight in human ingenuity and an appreciation of the vast achievements of organised labour and trade.

This picture by a Dutch artist called Van Utrecht, painted in 1644, takes us to an instructive time long ago when abundance was new and not to be taken for granted.

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