American Consumer Culture Essay Samples

Essay on American Consumer Culture

1031 WordsFeb 17th, 20135 Pages

As a country, Americans love to shop. Whether in malls, grocery stores, on the Internet, or elsewhere, the culture of buying is deeply ingrained in American culture. Fueled largely by advertising and the current credit system, America’s consumer culture is depleting our planet’s finite natural resources and polluting our environment. Consumerism has instilled in Americans an artificial, ongoing, and insatiable desire for mass-produced and marketed products, and the money with which to buy them, with little regard to their actual usefulness or necessity. This constant desire to acquire more possessions is poisoning the planet, as it can never be sated and thus results in the never-ending exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources, and…show more content…

One of his famous expressions is, "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the opinions of the masses is an important element in a democratic society. It is the intelligent minorities which need to make use of propaganda continuously and systematically" ( ). The idea behind this statement has been widely used ever since for commercial profits, through the manipulation of public opinion and the power of mass marketing.
Consumerism often causes people to identify with a product or brand on a personal level. Certain products have come to represent different levels of society, with swankier products like muscle cars indicating high class and such products as generic “store brand” shampoo indicating low class. People feel that they have relationships with their favorite brands and products and define themselves by what they buy and own. The mass production of cheap products uses precious fossil fuels at an alarming rate. This has an obvious negative impact on the environment.
In her biography of North Carolinian “mountain man” Eustace Conway, Elizabeth Gilbert explains ways in which Conway rejects consumerism. He lives self-sufficiently off of his Appalachian mountain land- making his own clothes, hunting and gathering his food, starting fires by rubbing sticks together, bathing in icy streams, living in a

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