Thursday, November 06, 2008

The History of Consumerism

It goes without saying that the United States is a consumeristic culture. But it hasn't always been this way. Check out this article that deals with how the consumer mindset of today has developed. It takes you to the point in time when luxeries became necessities and when shopping became linked with diversion and pleasure. Here's the opening paragraph:
"Consumerism is central to any study of the twentieth century. In its simplest form, it characterizes the process of purchasing goods such as food, clothing, shelter, electricity, gas, water, or anything else, and then consuming or using those goods. The meaning of consumerism, however, goes well beyond that definition, and has undergone a striking shift from the way it was first used in the 1930s to describe a new consumer movement founded in opposition to the increased prevalence of advertising. It is with much irony that by the end of the twentieth century, consumerism came to mean a cultural ethos marked by a dependence on commerce and incessant shopping and buying. This shift in meaning reflects the shift in how commercial values transformed American culture over the century."

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