Matthew Douglas -Hauling

Posted: January 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

Holt and Schor, in their article “Do Americans Consume Too Much?”, make the argument that consumerism has eroded traditional values and weakened contemporary Western society.

Their points on the sheep like nature of consumption are pertinent to the average Western lifestyle such as hauling.

To argue against the machine that is consumerism is to argue against capitalism. While I will always feel that capitalism is far from perfect, I also feel that criticizing Western consumerism with figures about Western poverty is like criticizing Cheetos for being too cheesy. Yes there are poor people in the United States, but can a United States citizen condemn consumerism because its not good enough for Americans? It can not be denied that there is something perverse about fetishizing an Ipad, but is a critic of consumerism that far removed from a communist? To oppose American capitalism for ethical reasons is to point out flaws in a system that largely benefits Americans.

We often make the point that there is something wrong with capitalism, but at no point to do we say that we would prefer and altered version of capitalism. Perhaps, the crux of our argument lies in incorrectly illustrating the monstrosity of consumerism as an unstoppable and autonomous force– all the while forgetting that it is idealistic to hope that consumerism can be separated from capitalism.

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