In Praise of Consumerism

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"In Praise of Consumerism"

In James Twitchell's essay, "In Praise of Consumerism," he states that producers "splash magical promises over their goods" in order to make a sale. He believes we are not duped into buying stuff, but we demand it. The overwhelming amount of material goods available on the market today isn't "exploiting our desire" but rather fulfilling our needs. Since when did our self-image dictate what and why one product is better than the next? For me and my parents, it's hard to say. I think the massive rise in consumerism all started with the Industrial Revolution and the sudden ability of the working class citizen to acquire the latest and greatest goods. During the 18th century, many of the goods were more like amenities and in some way improved the quality of life. The complete opposite is true for today. The products we consumers buy today are considered luxuries. The products of that time period became a measure of success among consumers. That was just the start of what evolved into the constant need to outdo your neighbor and the competition of producers to sell people their similar, but somehow better and more improved products. As a society, we think we need these goods to reassure ourselves and show others our success. We also need the producers to fulfill this need and give us a reason to buy their brand name product. The upper classes generally attempt to distinguish themselves from the lower classes by buying luxury goods and services, and the lower classes attempt to emulate and imitate the behavior of the upper classes. It's an endless cycle encouraged by big businesses and government that is creating a society without values and I refuse to become a part of it.
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