Luxury. The word alone conjures up visions of visions of attractive, desirable lifestyle choices, yet it also faces criticism as a moral vice harmful to both the self and society. Engaging with ideas from business, marketing, and ecomics, The Vice of Luxury takes on the challenging task of naming how much is too much in today's consumer-oriented society. David Cloutier's critique goes to the heart of a fundamental contradiction. Though overconsumption and materialism make us uneasy, they also seem inevitable in advanced ecomies. Current studies of ecomic ethics focus on the structural problems of poverty, of international trade, of workers' rights -- but rarely, if ever, do such studies speak directly to the excesses of the wealthy, including the middle classes of advanced ecomies. Cloutier proposes a new approach to ecomic ethics that focuses attention on our everyday ecomic choices. He shows why luxury is a problem, explains how to identify what counts as the vice of luxury today, and develops an ethic of consumption that is grounded in Christian moral convictions.
David Cloutier is associate professor at Mount Saint Mary's University. He is the author of Love, Reason, and God's Story: An Introduction to Catholic Sexual Ethics and editor of the blog catholicmoraltheology.com.