President Trump built his personal brand on wealth using tag lines like, “You have to be wealthy in order to be great.”

Shortly after Trump’s election, Bard MBA in Sustainability students Heather Bowden, Lauren Hill, Nick Shore and Catherine Tedrow spoke with filmmaker John de Graaf, who documented the consumption phenomenon of the 1990s. Their conversation explored the connections among consumption, income inequality, social media and climate change in the context of the election.

John de Graaf is a documentary filmmaker and author. Fifteen of his films, including the popular Affluenza, have been broadcast nationally on PBS. He is also the co-author of the books Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, now in its third edition, and What’s the Economy For, Anyway?

De Graaf’s work investigates the intersections of sustainability, consumerism, health and happiness. He is a senior advisor for Earth Economics, a non-profit ecosystem services organization. He is also a co-founder of the Happiness Initiative and recently served as an advisor to the government of Bhutan as it development its Gross National Happiness project proposal for the United Nations.

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