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Consumerism - Essay Example

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Instructor Submission Date Capitalism Triumphant and the Infantilist Ethos In his book, “Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole”, Barber seeks to define the effects of consumerism to the lives of the citizens of the United States of America…
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Download file to see previous pages The continuously expanding capitalism commercial culture spoils everything, marginalizing religious life, civic life and family life, and turning citizens to mere consumers whose personal market choice avails to them what they want but fails to avail of them what they want to vent. This paper aims at discussing and analyzing the argument contained in Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole by Benjamin R. Barber. The author of this book is a well known political theorist who has over the years been writing many materials about how the civil society is deteriorating. He also gives recommendations on how the initial state of the civil society can be reclaimed. He believes that there was a time in history when capitalism had virtues that had positive contributions to citizenship, responsibility, and democracy. Currently capitalism is tainted with the vices that encourage consumerism, while on the other hand undermining citizenship, responsibility, and democracy. He states that in the current world capitalism and democracy do not come together. Previously, capitalism worked under the protestant work ethic. Under this ethic, capitalism was dependable, restrained, responsible, hardworking, and forward thinking. This enabled distribution of resources and meeting of human needs. During later days, capitalism had all human needs met thus capitalism ended up consuming itself (Barber 67). Because capitalism had to keep growing, consumer market had to keep selling. Despite the fact that many citizens did not have their basic needs met, capitalism still chose to ignore them. Instead, they made consumers want the products that were already over supplied. There are two possible results of this. First consumers of the oversupplied products are targeted. Second non-consumers of the available products are manipulated into wanting the oversupplied products. For instance, game producers target children while at the same time preventing adults from growing up, so that they would continue consuming their products. This can be done by making adults believe that games were made for them too. This way, adults are manipulated into wanting to use these products. Barber’s argument holds some truth in it. Consumers always get themselves wanting to buy some products. This happens regardless of whether they need it, or if they can afford. When a producer introduces a new product, they make consumers believe that they need it, and that the price is affordable (Barber 112). For example, Apple announces the introduction of a new iPod. Consumers of the same find themselves wanting to purchase this particular product even if they might be having a product that serves the same purpose. Despite the possibility of the iPod not making any difference in the lives of the citizens, they still buy it believing that they need it just as the producers claim. The book also tends to depict the constant creation of supposed human needs that have led to the creation of an infantilists’ ethos that interferes with people’s ability to be good citizens. When people identify themselves as consumers or individuals instead of a constituent of a political organization, people tend to forget that they should be thinking of the collective benefit of the whole community. A common observation in America is that there is pressure mounting on children to mature at a fast rate in order to be consumers. On the other hand, producers are trying hard to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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