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Buying Stuff Online and How Your Credit Card is You - Essay Example

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Introduction Credit cards represent a very important backbone for modern society. Part of the reason for this is because easy credit has led to the rise of mass consumerism, and has enabled every individual to be able to afford items that were only within reach to the wealthy…
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Buying Stuff Online and How Your Credit Card is You
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Download file to see previous pages That said, there are issues with credit, including the fact that credit is often abused and there is also the risk of identity theft. That said, since credit is inextricably bound with the rise of consumerism, credit is very important to society and is not likely to recede anytime soon. This paper will explain how consumerism came about, how globalization and online purchasing has changed how people buy stuff and use credit, and what the dangers are of credit. Evolution of the Economy The economy has been evolving continually, from a period of time before mass production, to mass production, to globalization. The economic realities during the 19th Century, before the advent of mass production, was that a Puritan ethos prevailed. This means that housing was sparse, money was not spent on non-necessities, such as jewelry, eating and drinking well, and fine clothing (Bocock, 2000, p. 8). This all changed with Henry Ford. Henry Ford was the father of consumerism, because, under Ford, workers were paid better. Because workers were paid better, they had more purchasing power. Because workers had more purchasing power, there was more demand for products. Consumerism was the result of this cycle (Gabriel & Yang, 1995). Suddenly, it was not just the rich who were able to consume products which were non-necessities, but everybody could (Gabriel & Yang, 1995, p. 10). ...
This changed by the middle of the twentieth century, however, in that, by this time, only one third of a British family's income was spent on food (Gabriel & Yang, 1995, p. 12). With mass production came branding, and the individual's desire to purchase products with labels and designers. This was because mass production meant that similar goods were flooding the marketplace. Companies had to stand out amongst the competition. This was the beginning of competitive branding, as different designers and labels emerged, and these designers and labels lent an air of prestige to the products. For example, designers such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger made names for themselves, and they were able to charge a premium for their products, because their products carried this extra prestige (Klein, 2000, p. 6). Gender issues emerged during this period. The men were busy making money, and the women were busy spending the money, so the women were the ones that the marketers targeted in the era of consumerism that predated the rise of feminism (Kacen, 2000, p. 347). This all changed in the post-modern society, as consumption became a part of everyone's identity, both male and female. In the post-modern society, according to Kacen (2000), people constructed their identity with brands, figuring out who they are by the brands that they buy. The person's identity became fluid, as the person might go from being a punk, preferring to buy products that would go along with that image, and then the same person might choose a look that is more of a preppy image, and buy products that suit that image. Brands play a part in this identity construction, as well, because certain brands are popular with different segments of society, so choosing certain ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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