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The Beginning of Consumerism in America

Aside from being built on the ideals of simplicity and parsimony, much like the Pilgrims, consumerism in the United States has arisen as active energy since its inception. Despite open opposition from various segments of the American economy throughout its history, consumerism has thrived in the commercial culture of the United States, as shown by higher levels of consumers from its inception to the present.
As a result, the term consumerism is often used to express a variety of concepts. Accordingly, in this essay, the term consumerism is used to illustrate the impacts of equating individual happiness after buying material possession and consuming them. Since it is often a term that always faces criticism and hence linked to it and that started way back with great economists like Karl Marx however, it can be traced back to the very first human civilizations.
According to Cohen (43), the way how modern consumerism is defined only gives stress to two discrete features, and the first is emphasizing the acquisition, arrangement, and satisfaction of the commercial utility of the goods. Secondly, is the involvements and participation in economic activities in the social groups that are considered to be of upper-class of the economy? Thus, these two definitions are of great importance since they are shading light on how the term is used in this essay regarding the history of the origin of consumerism in the US.

For one study the origin of consumerism in the US two different methods can be adopted. The first one is to consider the emergence of consumerism in the US which can be looked from a different point of view insisting on some philosophical components of consumerism as they were in the modern American society. Secondly, a short history of consumerism in the US is going to be considered under chronological perspective with a lot of emphases given to the relevant periods and dates as the pillars of consumer culture in the US up to the current day.
In the process, particular essential components of consumerism in the America are going to be considered to give a broader perspective of the impacts and origins of the consumerism in America. Hodge says that consumerism and globalization are very much associated, it is, therefore, necessary to comprehend the present relations in the American society.
History of Consumerism In The United States
The ascent of consumerism in America has been a stable process for an extended period, particularly throughout the 20th century in the WW1. Martin (67) says that the primary key to economic prosperity is nothing but an organized design of discontent. In that 20th century, its first quarter was marked by technological development which in return led to increased production. In consequence, there was a lot of productions, but conversely, the consumer could not purchase what was being produced at a higher price.
Before that, in the year 1907, Simon Nelson who was an economist said that that the upcoming morality does not have much to do with savings, but it is more focused in expanding the consumption (Martin). Thus, the establishment of the inconsistent consumer was indeed a necessity of the time. Accordingly, time collapsed and when the WW1 ended the new boom period led to spread of consumerism in America. In the times of sixties, Hippies as well as the seventies with the world having fuel or rather petroleum crisis, the habits of consumers became questionable. The simple statement that was said by Carter in the year 1979 as a critic of consumerism pinpointed one of the primary reasons for him being defeated by Ronald Reagan in the presidential contest. It is so important to note that the pattern of consumption ascended just after the exit of Reagan from office. During this period there was widespread of new methods of marketing, and that is the critical marks of that time.

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Works cited
Hodge, Christina J. Consumerism and the Emergence of the Middle Class in Colonial America. Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Martin, Jennifer. "Consuming American Consumerism in the road." Devouring Cultures: Perspectives on Food, Power, and Identity from the Zombie Apocalypse to Downton Abbey(2015): 67.
Cohen, Maurie J. "Collective dissonance and the transition to post-consumerism." Futures 52 (2013): 42- 51.

September 21, 2021






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