Through the Cold War, America was transitioning in various ways such as the way messages were shared, consumerism, and the constant race against the Soviet Union. During the years 1959-1964, Rod Serling, a New York writer and playwright began using one of the newest inventions, the television, as a way to share his opinion about controversial topics. The rise of the television allowed Serling to access to a larger audience whom he could share his opinion in the form of science fictional episodes in the show The Twilight Zone. Although the show seems ominous and a horror related TV show, it allows us to understand the effects and feeling towards topics such as a possible nuclear war, consumerism, space exploration.
There is a very big epidemic of consumerism within the United Sates and it is a result of the contribution of many factors within our society. It is evident that this is not necessary when one views other communities throughout the world but America has yet to make the changes it needs to solve this problem. A big problem with retailers and producers of products is their use of sweatshops, which are located in and out of the U.S. Sweatshops are a huge problem because they are known for having very low safety standards for their employees and mistreat their employees consistently. The reason they are used is because they can give the company better profits off of their goods.
Consumerism in America has been at an all time high for years now. Consumerism refers to the consumption of goods and services at an ever-increasing rate. It is one of the many things that America is know for. Our economy is judged by how much people spend, and if it is high then our economy must be well off (Shukla 1). This ideology is purely materialistic and pushes people towards higher consumption than is needed. It transforms others into overly materialistic people who cannot distinguish the difference between wants and needs, and negatively affects those around them including the environment because of the glorification of material wealth.
Before reading the excerpts from “The Overspent American” I was not familiar with Juliet Schor’s work. While reading however, I saw that her views were different from many of the other authors that we have read so far. When I had finished the reading I found the reading enjoyable and fascinating. The reason that her writing intrigued me was because of her multiple perspectives while writing. Not only does she concentrate on the economics of American people, but she also uses a sociologist lens to show the purchasing habits of our culture. “The Overspent American” focuses on how we as a society have changed our spending patterns from the past. During the 1950s the phrase “keeping up with the Jones’” was coined and it represented Americans trying to outspend their neighbors and friends. For example, my friend buys a boat and I also need to buy a boat to make sure my friends saw me as being wealthy. Today our society as changed in many ways but Schor finds that our spending habits have altered the most since the 1950s. By analyzing and evaluating her work, one can see how Americans spending habits have changed over time and how our economics have been overtaken by television and broadcast media.
Today, people consume for pleasure. The act of consuming goods may allow one to fit in, feel confident, or participate socially in shopping culture. Consumerism has become a universal behaviour amongst most people and groups. According to Sharon Boden, consumption is affected by both external and internal constraints and expectations (150). I argue that consumerism and consumption is no longer an accurate indicator of a person’s actual status and wealth. As a society, we have increased accessibility to commodities and experiences. For example, driving a Mercedes-Benz is no longer a symbol of being wealthy or belonging to the upper class. Leases or loans have brought such luxuries to a broader spectrum of social
Debt has become the new American bedfellow; “The average U.S. household with debt carries $15,762 in credit card debt and $130,922 in total debt” (Issa). One should keep in mind that the “$130,922”is a median debt; some live debt-free while others have substantially higher debt (Issa). For twelve years running, the cost of living in our country has grown greater than our median wages contributing to the overall mountain of debt incurred (Issa). Our country has grown used to the debt that looms because that is what the American way has become; buy bigger, one can always settle finances at a later date. Juliet Schor discussed how “The new consumerism, with its growing aspirational gap, has begun to jeopardize the quality of American life”. Americans have grown tired of carrying a proverbial weight of their debt and are fighting against the normal American life of living
If you’ve ever been in a history class, I am sure you have heard of the concept of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” If we reflect on that statement of “The Pursuit of Happiness”, what really makes people happy? Is it money? Power? Love? Some believe that a higher power is the only place we can find happiness. We worship and try to live up to these ideologies because we have been taught to fulfill the American Dream. With the way that society is heading, the answer may not be soon revealed. Maybe not even in our lifetime. We are programmed from a young age to have a herd mentality, and want everything that we don’t have or need for that matter. We try to keep up with the Jones’
When I think about American consumerism the words money and capitalism come to mind. The big TV news channels come to mind for example CNN or FOX News. Social media also comes to mind like Twitter or Facebook because of all the ads I see on there from franchises or big companies. Donald Trump as a big corporate owner comes to mind and not Trump as a politician. Anything dealing with money comes to mind. Everything we see, hear, and eat deals with American Consumerism.
Chapter 5: This chapter focuses on the various individuals that have overcome societal pressure about continuous spending and have made commitments to reduce their consumerism habits. Schor tells us that people had realized that consumerism had taken over their lives and 75-80% believed that Americans had become too materialistic. They believed that the materialistic ideology may affect younger generations to come and their response to this was downshifting. The most common reasons to downshift were to have more time, less stress and live a more balanced life. Schor believes downshifting involves doing something more meaningful with one’s life, then just spending money on all the needs and desires.
Defining consumerism can be complicated. Consumerism is a term used to describe the effects of equating personal happiness with purchasing material possessions and consumption (Fritsh). In other words, consumerism is the wants and needs of people based upon standards that are set in a given society and how those people acquire wealth. Throughout history, consumerism has evolved drastically since the first records of civilized society were recorded. The evolution of consumerism in the United States can be understood by dividing it into three basic components; trade, monetary policy and the digital economy. These types of economies can also be described as the agricultural economy, the industrial economy, and the
American’s for centuries have always prided themselves along with one another for the valuables they possess. This brings the problematic issue of materialism into play. Although it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to attain valuable items and treasure them, it is a concern how much we depend on our wants instead of our needs. Success in our culture is often weighed in the things we bought and or the amount of expenses we have. Success is determined by the money you make at your jobs, the clothes you purchase, and any other personal items you may own. Entrepreneurs along with large manufacturing businesses especially target the young minds of our generation. In example, Iphones; product buyers
According to Philip Kotler and G. Amstrong (as cited in Haider, 2015) stated that consumerism is an organized movement of citizens and government to impose the rights and powers of buyers in relation to sellers. Another definition offer by Peter Drucker (as cited in Buskirk & Rothe, n.d.) stated that consumerism means that the consumer looks upon the manufacturer as somebody who is interested but who really does not know what the consumers’ realities are. For the more simple definition of consumerism is consumerism will happen when consumers’ happiness and satisfaction comes from buying products and services (Kan, 2015). The economy growth of a country will be affected by consumerism. This is due to the most consumer will purchase the product
Humans are highly influenced by visual contents and appearances, they are attracted to appealing images, they are curious by the weird, and they also can be unconsciously manipulated by it. Consumer culture is highly filled by visuals, images and symbolism; a brand can be considered desirable by its outward appearance, a musician or a celebrity is known mostly by their distinct external images, and likewise posters, magazines, and mass media are also extremely populated with visuals. We are clearly depend on visual language and easily swayed by it, it is especially evident in consumption activities that focuses on images and symbolism, and more so in than modern era than in any other. Consuming became part of the modern life, or perhaps it was modernity that was actually brought by consumer culture.
Americans are known for their overindulgence in everything: fancy cars, enormous houses, bountiful amounts of food, and ultramodern smartphones. The common mindset of the average American is to want more and more. Many people no longer work for a sense of self-satisfaction, rather they work to obtain an excessive amount of material goods to feel good about themselves and maintain their status in society. All of this exemplifies consumerism. According to Merriam Webster, consumerism is defined as “the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable; also : a preoccupation with and inclination toward the buying of consumer goods.” It has persuaded American society into believing that more is better, which has
Richard Hamilton, the pioneer of pop art, could recognize the powerful influence of the popular culture, consumption trend and the media. His artworks successfully captured such recognition and led the innovation of the visual image. After the devastating effect of World War II, American pop art introduced to Europe nations and it became their part of European postwar culture.