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Consumption Culture

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1. In her work entitled The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need Schor explains the core of consumerism. The core is that, in general, people desire to create their own image, which does not necessarily reflect their personality. They take a model for their image from colleagues, friends but mostly from the media. The problem is that not all people can actually afford a lifestyle, which they see as a model. However, it does not stop them. The aspiration to appear better makes people to acquire unaffordable items. There is even a competition in consumption. The sales figures and the fact that there are waiting lists for exclusive goods is a proof of the competition. In order to afford better lifestyles people began work more. Schor (20) reveals that the work time has risen about 10 percent in last twenty-five years. The increased workload leaves very limited time for household and family. That is what Schor (20) calls a squeeze on household work and family time.

2. Twitchell (552) cites some of the ways in which advertisers introduce advertising messages. One of such ways is product placement. I must admit that product placement often influences me as a consumer. For instance, I notice the cell phone, used by the main character in the movie that I particularly like. The product placement creates an impression that if that character (especially if it is an admired character) uses such cell phone, the phone must be indeed great. Needless to say, at the end of the day, I feel the desire to buy this particular cell phone.

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3. It would incorrect to state that the recession is a problem of not enough consumption or lack of manufacturing.

4. One of the factors contributing to the recession is the distorted balance between consumption and manufacturing. It is not consumption itself, or decline of manufacturing itself the reason for the recession. The reason is a change in the balance of consumption and manufacturing. During the last years consumption increased, while manufacturing declined. Nowadays, we have a situation that Americans consume more than they produce (The Economist). In my opinion it does not mean that Americans should stop consuming. Consumption is one of the most important drivers of the economy. The situation can be improved if Americans started to produce more so as to support the consumption levels.

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