In the very first line of Capital, Marx (cheekily quoting himself) stated 'The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as “an immense accumulation of commodities”' (2). Almost a hundred and fifty years later, we still see wealth in the same terms and we're still trying to add ever more to the pile. Now we know that we're not only wasting our own time in so doing - because we'll never get enough - but the ceaseless consumption is also endangering our way of life and the lives of millions. Yet we carry on.
1 - "In this age of diamond saucepans, only a recession makes sense," by George Monbiot, in the Guardian Unlimited, 9th of October, 2007. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2186693,00.html)
2 - Capital, by Karl Marx. (http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm#S1)