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SOCIO 2172A - Lecture 3: Consumerism

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Sociology 2172A/B
Gale Cassidy

CONSUMERISM “We invented credit cards, suburban shopping malls, and daycare just to make our consumerism more efficient. We sent our wives, husbands, children, and grandparents out to work, just to pay for all the stuff we wanted—needed—to buy” --Korten's When Corporations Rule the World 1995 1950: “We spend money we've earned to buy things we need to impress people we like.” 2000: “We spend money we haven't earned to buy things we don't need to impress people we don’t like.” What is Consumerism? • Consumerism is the preoccupation with the acquisition of goods to satisfy needs through material things • have we developed unsustainable consumption patterns? ◦ Trend of consumption one of major causes of the deterioration of our environment ◦ 20% population of planet live in the industrialized world and we are using 80% of resources ◦ average Amerian uses 30 times of goods than someone in the developing world • How have we reached this point? ◦ We're exposed to 3500 ads a day ◦ from a really young age we are exposed to consumersim • The Scoiological Imagination – there are things that are a personal trouble and others that are a public issue • consumerism should be considered a public issue than a personal trouble • Cycle of Consumerism: ◦ advertisement > purchase > indebtedness > alienation Role of Advertising • to manipulate us into buying with little reflection • advertisements ◦ appeal to our insecurities ▪ to make us feel more secure and like we are going to fit in with everybody else ◦ solve our problems ▪ might be legitimate, but in many it is a psychological problem ◦ achieve happiness and freedom ◦ lower class marketing ▪ people in lower class will buy certain products that they can't really afford so that they will feel bettter and wealthier ◦ restrain our distates ▪ distract from the negative sides of product or service (woof) <3 What are the cosequences? • Decreased savings • consumer debt ◦ record high of $1.5 trillion debt ◦ average family is 177 thousand dollars in dept • personal bankruptcies ◦ at a record high ◦ no real consequences to it cause after a few years you start over • credit card ownership ◦ on average every Canadaian over 18 has 3 credit cards ◦ 40% of Candians don't know the rate/interest they are paying on their credit card(s) The Store is Born • prior to the store we had the market, general store • 1870s ◦ Marshall Fields in Chicago created the first shopping store ◦ John Wanamaker in Philadelphia ◦ women were not able to go out in public during this time unless they were in the company of a male ◦ but it was socially acceptable to go into these department stores Buy Now, Pay Later • in 1919 ◦ General Motors Acceptance Corporation ▪ could buy a vehicle without
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