Consumerism in the United States

Topics: United States, Federal Reserve System, Post-industrial society Pages: 4 (1475 words) Published: May 1, 2006
Executive Summary

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 post industrial economy.

At first, consumerism in the United States was established as trading between Indians and settlers for crops and labor. This was also known as the agricultural society. Currency was brand new to the Indians of North America. They were poorly educated and had little knowledge of how a currency system worked. So, in order for settlers and traders to establish some sort of economy that could live with and function with the Native Americans, a system of borrowing and trading was introduced. When it came down to it, the only things that became important in this economy were what was being traded, and how much was it worth to each individual. Not only has trading impacted American society back then, it has also had a snowball affect and has evolved into something much greater that we use in our daily lives.

The second part of consumerism in the United States has been the creation of a monetary policy. After the American Civil War, and once the Federal Reserve was established, people began to develop confidence in the government's ability to secure their assets though gold and silver. This is known as the industrial economy. It was a long time before paper money began to increase in its ability to...
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