Many Americans love shopping, especially during the holidays, with its captivating discounts and sales, which lead to uncontrollable splurges on irrelevant things. According to Quindlen, this is an example of America’s crazed consumerism and it is absolutely absurd. In her article, “Honestly, You Shouldn’t Have”, she states that there is currently an assumption that purchasing American merchandises symbolize an act of patriotism and at the same time, build a strong economy. She also states that we, as Americans, need to acknowledge important spiritual values such as friends and family rather than material goods.
This paper is mainly about the consumption behavior of America’s majority population during the 1920s, namely its white majority citizens of European ancestry. Of course, it’s necessary to acknowledge that the country’s minority African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and people of various other backgrounds developed their own versions of consumerism during the 1920s as well. As for the European-Americans, they were targeted as consumers by producers of consumer goods. Women were targeted mainly by companies that made cosmetics, beauty, and personal hygiene items (many in number); clothes; kitchen appliances (a huge category of items, most of them being electrical); furniture; electric vacuum cleaners, home cleaning materials (also large in number),
1 - Consumerism developed in America during the early twentieth century in large part due to the boom in industry created by Europe 's inability to create goods after World War I. Combined this with American inventions such as Henry Ford’s assembly line and Americans had money to spend (Schultz, 2013). With the advent of an electrical distribution system, Americans had electricity in their homes for the first time, which led to the desire for all types of electrical appliances to make life easier. All these new products meant that companies had to get the word out about their products which ignited the advertising industry, which led to even more consumerism. Mix into this recipe, the growing credit industry, and you had consumerism like
Advertisements are always finding unique and creative ways to appeal to the public’s wanting ear. Advertising companies use everything from bright colors to cute animals to appeal to the audience. Roland Marchand is a professor of history at the University of California, and in a selection from Marchand’s writings titled “The Appeal of the Democracy of Goods”, Marchand discusses one of the many techniques available to advertising: Democracy of Goods. Marchand provides the reader with a brief history of the Democracy of Goods and what is actually is. Marchand defines Democracy of Goods as “equal access to consumer products” and he refers back to it quite often when discusses other details (Marchand 211). Marchand uses his own developed definition of Democracy of Goods and successfully applies it to the examples used in his selection.
The concept of consumerism was first brought to my awareness in First Year Writing. I admit, before this intro course, I was indeed ignorant of the negative impacts that consumption had on society. FYS opened my mind to the dangers of over-consumption, and more importantly, helped me see beyond what meets the eye. Take for example, Disney, a seemingly innocent corporation, a company’s whose name is practically synonymous with the notion of childhood innocence. Upon initial judgement, one would assume that Disney is merely harmless family entertainment. Where in fact, if one looks beneath Disney’s visage of innocence, their true intentions are shockingly cynical. Disney’s cultural pedagogy embeds the concept of consumption into young susceptible
In Rachel Sherman’s “A Very Expensive Ordinary Life: Conflicted Consumption,” the argument centres around the “legitimization” of wealth by the New York’s upper class in order to be seen as not only rich, but morally worthy. The possession of great wealth alongside their less fortunate peers could be uncomfortable also for those that hold the city’s riches. Hence, New York’s affluent has “legitimized” their wealth and consumption, or on a more macro level, the inequality between the social classes in the city in order to feel more comfortable in their spending, and to manage the impression of the wealthy in the eyes of the greater public in the much morally contested behaviour of lavish spending in an unequal society. This is supported throughout the reading by the justification of excessive spending and consumption by the claim that the rich live an “ordinary” life. The need that they feel towards justifying their spending comes to show that their amount of spending is excessive in the eyes of the ordinary person, in which they also acknowledge themselves as well. Nevertheless, the interviewees frown upon being labelled as someone that values luxury over reasonable spending. Hence, they expressed their emphasis on the importance of needs over wants, and that practicality should triumph over extravagance. They see “limited” consumption as a form of self discipline, where excessive spending was only justifiable when it is spent on the family and invested in the children. If
The consumerist conversation is not new. It is something that has been relevant since the days of the industrial revolution, even if it was not a distinguished term then. The end of the Great Depression marked the rebirth of the American economy and brought with it the rise in jobs, work hours, and overall earnings across the nation over the next 80 years. With this increase in personal income so did the evolution of consumerism. The questions being raised in light of this increase in consumption is, how has this impacted our thinking.
Statistics show that today there are over 1.7 billion members of the “consumer class”- half of them being in the developing world (2011, the World Watch Institute). Being part of the consumer class myself, I believe it is crucial to dispense a great deal of money on goods and services to improve the economy here in Canada. Does this mean I’m considered to be a consumer as a result of my views on world consumption? Yes, I fit into the category of a consumer due to the fact that I’m part of the endless cycle of supply and demand. From the moment I leave my house and walk the two minutes to the bus stop I’m already thinking about what I’m going to buy. When I embark on the crowded bus I’m immediately surrounded by other consumers that I share
Materialism is a problem in American society, everyday people go for the next best thing just to show off their possessions. People show off what they have, and once they get tired of it, they begin to go for the latest, cellular devices, clothing’s, cars etc. According to Tim Kasser, “People develop ideals looking at the lives of their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and relatives” (Kasser52). What he is trying to say is, instead of every person helping each other expand in life, everyone is in rivalry with one another. In order to make an attempt at fixing the American society, making it less materialistic, people must become and think correspondingly of a minimalist. The American society is a materialistic system, causing self-destruction, depression, and health problems.
Freedom Fries: And Other Stupidity We’ll Have to Explain to Our Grandchildren is a critical and an interesting movie that talks about consumption and patriotism in the USA. The film was released in 2006 by Carl Christman, and it explores the ridiculousness of the actions portrayed by Americans and explains that the ridiculousness of their behavior has its roots in their culture. The film heavily criticizes consumerism with much emphasis on the hope that the people of America will change.
Consumo ergo sum - I consume, therefore I am. This turn on the classic phrase I think, therefore I am has become increasingly popular, especially used for reflection on our society and by critics of capitalism. In order to understand our society better, it is important to descry the origins of the capitalistic ecosphere we live in. Traces of consumerism can be found throughout all ages of humanity, however a particularly great shift took place in the eighteenth century. This essay intends to prove that the new culture of consumerism influenced the British society in all aspects during this period. [Why Britain? add Neil Mc Kendrick/Brewer Talk]
This sociological study will analyze the problem of commodity fetishism in American consumer culture. Karl Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism is a major problem in the United States due to the inability of consumers to see the intrinsic value of a commodity. American consumer culture tends to become trapped in the “magical qualities” of a product, which makes them unable to understand the object as it was made by a laborer. This abstraction of the commodity is part of Marx’s analysis of capitalist products that is separated from the labor and become valuable objects in and of themselves. This is an important sociological perspective on commodities, which creates an irrational consumer culture in the American marketplace. The illusion of product
Over the years materialism has attracted the interest of many scientists in consumer research, psychology, sociology and many other fields as it has a great impact on the individual’s life. Materialism is defined as a “devotion to material needs and desires, to the neglect of spiritual matters; a way of life, opinion, or tendency based entirely upon material interests” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1989). There is also another description of materialism that can perfectly describe its meaning: “The importance a consumer attaches to worldly possessions” and “possessions assume a central place in a person’s life and are believed to provide the greatest sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction” is a description of materialism (Belk 1984).
We see it everyday: our favorite caffeinated drinks are back in season, hip and trendy outfits flaunted in display windows, aesthetically pleasing advertisements for the newest smartphone. Naturally, we want it all. In today’s society, we are taught that it is okay to spend and purchase to our heart’s desire. We reap what we sow, but did we really sow it? In the recent years, many people began to see that our everyday commodities have a dark side—they are made through the suffering of others. Be it the people’s welfare or the environment’s health, something has to be diminished or sacrificed before reaching to our hands as luxury. “Consumerism, it seems, is the root cause of much of the world’s problems” (Laver). Of course, it only makes sense