It’s called 'retail therapy' because of the notion that it makes us feel good but the Archbishop of York says that having an obsession with shopping is ultimately making us unhappy.
Dr John Sentamu, criticised the consumer society for being a ‘mechanism for distributing unhappiness’.
He says the financial crisis can be explained by people ‘borrowing money they didn't have to buy things they didn’t need.’
He publicised his opinion at the launch of "On Rock Or Sand?", a book comprising of Dr Sentamu’s essays, with inclusions from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, and experts in the fields of poverty and economics.
The book has been released in time for the General Election campaigning and criticises Britain under the Coalition in a country where the poor are becoming even poorer and the money is concentred in London and the South East.
Prime Minister David Cameron said that he "profoundly disagreed".
Archbishop Welby told the launch, at Church House in Westminster, that the book simply called for "a people centred economy rather than economically centred people".
Dr Sentamu explained: "What the financial collapse in 2008 should teach us is that we were becoming obsessed with money: salaries,
bonuses, the cost of houses, and expensive luxuries we could live without.
"When money rules, we remember the price of things and forget the value of things.
"That is a bad mistake. The financial collapse happened because people borrowed money they didn’t have, to buy things they didn’t need, to achieve a happiness that wouldn’t last."
He added: "The whole of consumer society is based on stimulating demand to generate expenditure to produce economic growth.
"This involves turning genuine values upside down. “Advertising creates a thousand blandishments that focus our minds on what we don’t have, while real happiness lies in rejoicing in what we do have.
"So in a curious way a consumer society is a mechanism for creating and distributing unhappiness."
Archbishop Welby added: "You could say it calls for a people centred economy rather than economically centred people.
"And the lie of the consumer society ... is to say that people will be better people when they are economically centred, when they are based on material values."