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Sustainable Happiness by Sarah van Gelder

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CHAPTER 16 The Hidden Treasures in Your Neighborhood

John McKnight and Peter Block

When family members do not work or live well together we sometimes call the family dysfunctional. But the real challenge to the family is that it has lost its job.

Consumer society has put an end to the functional family. We normally think of consumerism as buying stuff we want but don’t need, but it runs deeper than that. The essential promise of consumerism is that all of what is fulfilling or needed in life can be purchased—from happiness to healing, from love to laughter, from raising a child to caring for someone at the end of life. What was once the task of the family and the neighborhood is now outsourced. Aunt Martha is forgetful? Little Arthur is restless? ...

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