Two Cheers For Consumerism Essay

1458 words - 6 pages

Two Cheers for Consumerism

In the article called 2 cheers for consumerism, the writer Twitchell explains how people, the consumers, are consuming more and more items everyday. According to the author of the article “The really interesting question may be not why we are so materialistic, but why we are unwilling to acknowledge and explore what seems the central characteristics of life.”. Many people spend most of their time and energy consuming or producing items all the time and most of that happened in the 20th century, like for example in the 1960’s. Some people consider this as Commercialism, and others as consumerism, but either way, commercialism or consumerism will stay up ...view middle of the document...

Many items that are on sale have such an influence in our lives; people love things, especially if there on sale. Thousands of people evaluate their lives on things, we fill our lives with things and we “live for things” (Twitchell). Twitchell also said that “We create ourselves through things, and we change ourselves by changing our things” (Twitchell). Taking a closer look at the lives that surround thousands of people, it’s not hard to see that almost everyone can be considered a materialist and many people know that an unbiased point of view on consumerism is hard to come by.

It is easy to blame this unflattering culture characteristic−materialism−on commercialism. The blame is passed around when it’s really the materialism and our love of things that are the initial trigger for many people. Twitchell thinks that commercialism is the thing to be blamed, and the reason for that is that people just can’t stop purchasing items. Commercialism is a tool that is used to profit all the time from what is already there. Twitchell does acknowledge all of this, and of course, it’s true that commercialism should take some part in blame.

We live in a society where everything can be made into a commodity and be given a price tag. The the main purpose is to produce and sell; therefore, needing to commercialize. There are many examples of how commercialism takes advantage of thousands of consumers, commercials and many other advertisements provide somewhat false, or in many cases completely false hope and offer their product as the solution to happiness. Twitchell then opposes that by stating that these misleading attached meanings do not make us weak and vulnerable; instead, by accepting these meanings, we grow more powerful (Twitchell). Commercialism, he states, “has lessened pain and has made us happier over the years.” (Twitchell,). He continues by stating that money doesn’t buy happiness but the truth is that happiness seems much more attainable with money than without.

Twitchell continues his discussion on consumerism, this time he talks about taking a look at poverty in the Western world. He states that those who lack things−the poor−also lack meaning and therefore, face exclusion from social groups. (Twitchell). Just like everyone else, the poor want to feel a sense of inclusion, association and affiliation (Twitchell). Twitchell then mentions the famous author Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) and his coined term “conspicuous consumption”. The author also mentions that Veblen stated that the leisure class sets the markers for consumption. Those markers are held as standards that wish to be met by other classes (Twitchell). He explains this as a “keeping up with the Joneses” pursuit. But unfortunately, status through consumption is not something that when achieved will remain; no, status is ever-changing. This as a result, requires the leisure class to continually seek newer markers for others to chase (Twitchell). According to Veblen, the...

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