- America's Consumerism — Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of…Stuff?
by Ryan L. Caswell
July 4th, which started as a modest and solemn celebration recognizing new freedoms in America, has been transformed into a massive multibillion-dollar festival, characterized by excess, overeating, and drunkenness.
- Breaking the Consumer Addiction
by Jamie Anne Richardson
Are you a compulsive shopper? Is the habit rubbing off on your kids? Here are some ways to balance the want-versus-need frustration.
- Conspicuous Consumption Is Over. It's All About Intangibles Now
by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
Long ago, possession of corsets and silver spoons marked the elite. Now that both rich and poor can own fancy consumer goods, though, the new elite prefers to spend on services, education, and human-capital investments.
- Consumed by Our Consumer Society
by Natasha Josefowitz
Back in the day, Josefowitz writes, "We made do, it was good enough; perfect was not in our vocabularies. Our aspirations were more limited. We were not bombarded by so many promising ads." Shopping was reserved for things that were actually needed.
- The Crisis of American Consumerism
by Amitai Etzioni
What needs to be eradicated, or at least greatly tempered, is consumerism: the obsession with acquisition that has become the organizing principle of American life. What is needed is for more and more people to rethink their definition of what it means to live a good life.
- The Demoralized Mind
by John F. Shumaker
Consumer culture imposes numerous influences that weaken personality structures, undermine coping, and lay the groundwork for eventual demoralization. Its driving features – such as hyper-competition, greed, and debt – all correlate negatively with psychological and social health.
- Do Americans Consume Too Much?
by Peter G. Stromberg
Arguments about over-consumption are in fact thinly-disguised discussions about values and politics. And since we are all consumers, these discussions always come down to assertions by one person that he or she is buying the right stuff and other people are buying the wrong stuff.
- Do We Consume Too Much?
by Mark Sagoff
The idea that increasing consumption will inevitably lead to scarcity, as plausible as it may seem, is mistaken both in principle and in fact. But we consume too much when consumption becomes an end in itself and makes us lose affection and reverence for the natural world.
- 11 Stats That Will Change the Way You Think About Consumerism
by Jesse Carey
In America, more money is spent on fashion accessories than on college education. Plastic kills one million seabirds every year. These stats and the nine others Carey gives are depressing, but important to consider.
- The Enormous Influence of Online Reviews
by The Week Staff
For small businesses, online reviews can mean the difference between failure and success. Businesses can improve their image by engaging with reviewers — thanking those who left positive comments and apologizing and working with those who posted complaints.
- 5 Ways to Tell If You Belong to the New Elites — "The Aspirational Class"
by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
Do you know the difference between direct trade and fair trade coffee beans? Do you talk about podcasts and op-eds rather than stuff? If so, you may be part of the aspirational class who reveal their social consciousness and environmental awareness through their consumer choices.
- Free to Choose?
by Sophia Rosenfeld
By and large, when it comes time to choose, the impulsive, unreflective parts of the brain dominate the analytic parts. The problem stretches from the overstuffed supermarket to the halls of Congress.
- 'Generation Wealth' Skims the Surface of Greed, Consumerism
by Walter Addiego
This review of Lauren Greenfield's documentary "Generation Wealth" contends that the film has flaws, especially in lack of depth, but that one cannot argue with the words of one of the film's commentators, “It’s kind of like the end of Rome.”
- How Consumerism Is Used to Control Society
by Aleks Eror
Consumerism keeps society functioning smoothly because it distracts from the brutality deep within the human psyche through a sort of temptation-and-reward system. Many of us work jobs that we hate to earn money to buy things we’ve been conditioned to lust for.
- How "The Americans" Highlights the Dangers of Consumerism
by Michael J. O'Loughlin
Reflecting on what he's learned from watching the FX drama series "The Americans," O'Loughlin notes that consumerism sometimes feels like it’s the only thing that unites Americans. To live outside that system can feel downright unpatriotic. But there has got to be a way to escape this way of living, for the good of our souls and the health of our planet.
- How to Loosen the Grip of Consumerism
by Eve Poole
Consumerism can only ever fail, because it cannot satisfy. It lies, because the latest “thing” soon becomes old news, dooming us to spiralling dissatisfaction in our relentless quest to stay on top. We need to start by recognizing that we are immeasurably loved.
- Humans of New York and the Cavalier Consumption of Others
by Vinson Cunningham
Brandon Stanton’s book, Humans of New York: Stories aims at what Cunningham calls "a vague, flattening humanism, too quick to forget the barriers erected ... against real equality." Satisfying to consume, the photos are easy to misconstrue.
- Is America's Happiness Industrial Complex Working?
by Mary Pilon
The quest for more and more things may serve economics, but it doesn’t serve the individual on a deeper level, particularly when it comes to bracing for struggle or adversity.
- Market Fundamentalism: The Religion of Mammon
by Sharon Delgado
Jesus warned, "You cannot serve God and wealth" (Matt. 6:24), but the ideology of corporate globalization, which functions as a secular religion, would have us ignore that counsel. Market Fundamentalism is an idolatrous religion, because it puts money above all else.
- More Is More
by Deborah Cohen
How did we come to be such voracious, irrepressible consumers? And how has all of this consuming changed the world? Those are the questions at the heart of Frank Trentmann’s Empire of Things.
- My Year of No Shopping
by Ann Patchett
Imagine making a pledge that for 12 months you won't buy shoes, clothes, purses, or jewelry. Patchett remembers a line her parents used to say: "If you want something, wait awhile. Chances are the feeling will pass."
- Pope's Encyclical Blames "Extreme Consumerism" for the Planet's Ills
by Madeleine Davies
The wealthy and powerful are mostly concerned with masking the destruction of the planet, and regard its impact on the poor as "collateral damage," Pope Francis has said, in an encyclical that calls for a cultural revolution to protect the Earth.
- The Problem with Consumerism
by Life Squared
This booklet — available as a pdf, an audiobook, or online — examines the force that consumerism exerts in our lives and what we can do to change society, exercise intellectual independence, and consume less.
- Rejecting Consumerism: On Losing and Letting Go
by Leora Novick
Even after a theft of her Kindle and Canon camera during travels, Novick realizes she still has her health and her passport and will be fine. She knows her anger and disappointment are natural, but she doesn't want to waste life on regret.
- Ten Reasons to Escape Excessive Consumerism
by Joshua Becker
Even minimalists still own stuff. But to escape excessive consumerism, consider these ten practical benefits, which include less debt, less environmental impact, and greater ability to see through empty claims.
- The Triumph of Consumerism
by Rebecca J. Rosen
In 1962, Edward T. Chase wrote an article called "Money Isn't Everything" in which he posited that the United States was evolving beyond a narrow-minded focus on material acquisition. He seems to have gotten that wrong.
- What We're Concealing with Our Consumption
by Anna Clark
The forces that perpetuate our consumption are strong, but if we let them program us as consumers first, then we are not citizens. What we risk concealing most with our consumption is ourselves.
- Why the Death of Malls Is about More Than Shopping
by Josh Sanburn
For better or worse, the mall had been America’s public square for some 60 years. But malls, says Harvard business professor Leonard Schlesinger, "were built for patterns of social interaction that increasingly don’t exist."
- Zombies, Malls, and the Consumerism Debate: George Romero's Dawn of the Dead
by Stephen Harper
Film director George Romero's satirical depiction of instant and celebratory gratification is consistent both with classical European images of luxury and with modernist denunciations of the restlessly acquisitive postmodern zeitgeist.