Why we love big houses

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, the size of the average American house more than doubled between 1950 and 1999. Between 1982 and 2004 alone, new single-family homes grew some 40 percent larger -- from 1,690 square feet to 2,366 square feet. In the meantime, the size of the average American household shrank from 3.3 people to 2.6 people. What's going on? The answer is, I think, that we Americans have fallen hook, line and sinker for the Big Marketing Lie. For decades we've been pummeled by advertising urging us to buy more, more, more -- a relentless drumbeat that carefully reinforces the idea that our happiness is directly proportional to the size, cost and number of things we own. This mind-numbing message grew exponentially more shrill with the advent of television, and it's being further amplified by the Internet, which makes it possible for us to shop our duffs off even while we're still sitting on them. Not even the present economic troubles have seriously...