American Materialism

Topics: Humanism, Society, Religion Pages: 3 (1163 words) Published: April 21, 2007
Materialism in American Society

Over the course of the last century America has undergone many societal changes, none of which have had as great an ethical effect as the nation's transition towards ever increasing materialism. Materialism, or the desire for wealth and possessions, has faced virulent opposition for thousands of years from both religious institutions and social activists. Throughout time, materialism has been widely slandered not only as spiritually corrupting, but also as a major cause of a multitude of societal ills throughout the world. Although absolute materialism would obviously be awful for all involved, to date materialism has overall been very positive for American society, driving it towards ever-greater productive, intellectual, and ethical heights. First, the most obvious benefit bestowed upon America by materialism is the increased productivity of its people. With the attainment of wealth and possessions as the predominant motivation, it is to be expected that the majority of Americans go to great lengths to attain material success. Even with such a relatively short lifetime as a nation, America's capitalist beliefs have catapulted it to the forefront of the world as the only true modern superpower. One of the most significant factors contributing to America's dramatic rise in power is the capitalistic drive for success and achievement, a love for material possessions that has manifested itself in the typically American value of hard work, both in ones profession and in school. Since education and socioeconomic position are closely correlated, it is not surprising that America is the worldwide leader in higher education. Not only does America produce great thinkers, but it also attracts the best and the brightest of other countries, people who are drawn to America's freedom of thought and the material possibilities that abound. So many great minds have made America a land of unprecedented innovation. The copious amounts of money...
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