Articles

Bigger Not Always Better
By Dennis Goodenough

Wisconsin State Journal
February 20, 1992 

As I drive through a new neighborhood, I can't help but think that the large homes that I see there and the lifestyles they represent, are indicators of a social neurosis.  A well-heeled subdivision will quickly yield any number of "ego shrines" that ostentatiously proclaim "bigger is better."

We are a nation pursuing spiritual nourishment through the acquisition of material wealth; a society that measures the value of a man by the size of his bank account; a people trying to define who we are by the things that we own.

We are obsessed with building large homes.  The National Association of Home Builders tells us that the average size of a single-family dwelling in 1964 was 1,475 square feet.  Today that average has grown to 1,850 square feet and people want even larger homes:  2,350 square feet is what most people would really like to have.

All of this increase in floor area accrued at a time when the size of an average family was decreasing.

Urban sprawl, deforestation, consumer debt, atmospheric degradation, etc., are all part of the price being paid for this generation's version of the "American Dream."  A "dream" that at best is economically unsound and domestically inefficient and at worst is socially, morally and environmentally bankrupt.

Come on America!  It's time to chuck the "I want it all and I want it now" mind-set and start looking for alternative lifestyles.  Or do we want to really find out what happens when the carrying capacity of the planet is exceeded?  Besides, today's "upscale, fast-tracking" family doesn't need a hot tub, they need the time to sit in one!