Yet after all the complex theories I have read, I have found that one of the simplest to follow and mot enduring resources for understanding our relationship to 'things', is the 'Story of Stuff'.
The 'Story of Stuff' is a "...20-minute film that takes viewers on a provocative and eye-opening tour of the real costs of our consumer driven culture—from resource extraction to iPod incineration."
You can view it here for free.
I think most of use don't ever think about our relationship to the things they buy, where they come from, and how the ways things are made and sold, shapes us. I couldn't recommend this movie more highly.