And Effects Of Consumerism Cultural Studies Essay
ah, and here it is, buried amidst the excellent financial advice, frugality strategies, and disdain for consumerism: a foundational life strategy articulated by MMM that i not only disagree with, but i oppose. in short, happiness is not the only logical pursuit, nor is it the only “real” goal. it is actually, the wrong goal.
The problem with consumerism | Life Squared
Virno (2004) notes how we now sell off to employers our very ability to have a conversation as a central element of labour power, which means that we give up to them what makes us human. Thus the sphere of capitalist production is alienating in a very different sense from the sphere of consumption: the latter estranges us in that it uproots immediate relations to others and to nature, in that now money transactions mediate between us and objects, creating a distance that was not there before. But in the sphere of production, alienation means, in a very straightforward way, that we are alienated from what we produce (as we don’t own it) and we are alienated from the means of production which, of course, we don’t own either; and, if those means of production include our very ability to have a conversation, to forge emotional bonds, etc. – then even that no longer belongs to us. Here the person is alienated by and subsumed under capital. If there is a ‘communism of capital’ (as Virno claims to have found in post-Fordism), it is certainly not to be found in the sphere of production. But maybe it exists in consumer culture?
But how is a concern for the material well-being of all transformed into a concern about the spread of consumerism even among the poor? Gould (2003: 343), for example, worries that the beneficiaries of fair trade may be turned into consumers. My estimate would be that it all began when revolutionary socialism started to go wrong – when it became clear that the workers were not going to make the revolution that Marx had predicted they would. In his 1916 pamphlet on imperialism, Lenin ascribed the failure of the workers of the industrialized nations to rise up, in essence, to consumerist bribery funded out of the profits of colonialist exploitation: