If you liked this article, then definitely must read Juliet B. Schor's "The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need." She makes a great argument that Americans, by default, are caught in a see-want-borrow-buy-repay cycle.
The problem is marketers who traditionally appealled to the top 5% of income earners (e.g. Tommy Hillfiger) now direct their marketing efforts to all 100% of households. Whereas 95% of households never knew who Hillfiger was 20 years ago, everybody does does. And now that we see, we want, and borrow (because we're not among the top 5% of income earners) to buy, and repay. The repay part is a kicker. This means working longer hours in a job you may not even like because you have to pay back you $15,000 in credit card debt.
Ms. Schor makes a very well-researched article that explores the different influences that contribute to the desire to purchase. She also includes a discussion of how some people have bucked the trend to more by going less. She calls these folks, like the author above, "downshifters."
As a freshly minted "downshifter," I highly recommend the read.