Please excuse me for a minute or so, as I need to borrow some space so I can continue an argument I started elsewhere. I promised not to further "clutter" the parlor where the disagreement started, so I'll just yell from here on my porch.
In response to Brian Balfour's solution for the ills of consumerism:
Your concern that a thrifty society would would stunt economic growth misses the point. Thriftiness merely shifts the consumption/investment ratio of spending more in the favor of investment. More investment by firms increases productivity, meaning more jobs, higher wages, and more affordable goods. That is how wealth is created.
Tell you what, as an exercise in support of your supply-side theory, why don't you sit down with a banker, an angel investor, or even a filthy rich relative, who loves you dearly, and tell them this: