The essay In Praise of Consumerism by James B. Twitchell is concerned with the social aspect of the American consumerism concept. Discussing the problem the author concludes that the marketplace is determined not by the manufacturers and marketers but by the very consumers.
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The essay makes the reader think about his or her buying habits. It turns out that very often we do not buy things that are necessary for living; we buy them just to have them at our disposal. The author claims that people do not buy things; they just buy hopes which are offered by the sellers. The better the hope is presented, the more chances to benefit from the customer the seller gets. This complex system of interrelation between the customer and the marketers results in the artificial values that consumerism creates after all.
Of course, one should not deny the material nature of the modern world but he or she should realize the power of the ever-increasing worldwide consumerist culture that is so enormous that can completely destroy the well-established code of moral values.
Richard Wolkomir and Joyce Wolkomir in their essay You Are What You Buy examine the reasons that make the customers buy this or that thing. The historical overview of mass marketing is made in their work. Commercial culture and the rise of advertizing as its integral component affects people’s attitude to the world around: advertisements foist off not only goods on customers but certain patterns of life as well. Especially it is true when it comes to the youth which seems to be the most liable to the messages offered by radio, TV and billboards.
The essay warns the reader to think over his or her position as a customer and to be especially cautious with the advertisements which congest the modern life. It is up to the customer whether to become a mirror image of what he or she buys or to make reasonable decisions about this or that buying. The problem is a rather controversial but its appropriate evaluation will sufficiently change the customer’s status for better.
- Twitchell, James B. “In Praise of Consumerism.” Perspectives on Contemporary Issues: Readings Across the Disciplines. Ed. Katherine A. Ackley. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2006. 652-659.
- Wolkomir Richard, and Wolkomir Joyce. “You Are What You Buy.” Perspectives on Contemporary Issues: Readings Across the Disciplines. Ed. Katherine A. Ackley. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2006. 659-666.