The Myth of Consumerism

The Myth of Consumerism

Conrad Lodziak

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 074531760X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

''... brilliantly original ... brings cultural and post-colonial theory to bear on a wide range of authors with great skill and sensitivity.' Terry Eagleton

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experiences, and in relation to the individual’s own sense of priorities. The ideology of consumerism’s failure to appreciate all that is involved in making judgements about the relative meaningfulness or 46 The Myth of Consumerism otherwise of our experiences is partially disguised by claims that it is, in fact, a theory that is based on empirical evidence of the consumption practices of ‘ordinary people’ in their everyday lives. In other words, advocates of the ideology of consumerism claim

later, an inconsequential freedom. But what of the realm of material consumption as an arena of freedom? I have already argued that whatever freedom this arena offers, it is a freedom based on unfreedom, by virtue of the fact that to participate in it requires dependence on an income. As individuals we can all appreciate this fact. But the original source of our (collective) loss of freedom – we are not free not to sell our labour time – resides in the alienation of labour. I am not referring to

consistent with images of affluence is available to only 65 per cent of the ‘privileged’ group, or 26 per cent of the population, according to Hutton’s calculations. My own calculations suggest that the ‘privileged’ group is already reduced to 20 per cent of the population by virtue of the increase in intermittent employment. However, this has disproportionately reduced the number of low income, full-time employees, and thus does not suggest a further reduction of this category. Nevertheless, it

(mainly women) are choosing to live alone for benefits that are deemed to be preferable to an increased scope for unnecessary consumption. That the purchasing power and scope for unnecessary consumption has been declining for a vast majority is consistent with statistics relevant to the distribution of wealth. An increasing proportion of the incomes of the wealthiest 25 per cent is unearned, and it is the investments of the very wealthiest of this group that provide an income that enables routine

murderous machine known as capitalism), but on the other hand there have been attempts, if limited, to convey the sources of people’s anger with the capitalist system. What we rarely get, however, is coverage of the range of currently debated proposals for saving the environment and the Third World, and for developing a post-capitalist future. The most radical critics of capitalism are agreed that the survival of the global population, now and in the future, will require a significant reduction

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