Consumerism in the United States - Essay

Consumerism in the United States - Essay - regina

The second part of consumerism in the United States has been the creation of a monetary policy. After the American Civil War, and once the Federal Reserve was established, people began to develop confidence in the government's ability to secure their assets though gold and silver. This is known as the industrial economy. It was a long time before paper money began to increase in its ability to become widely accepted to the masses. However, by the turn of the 20th century, technological advances almost made it impossible to copy paper currency. People felt more secure with the value of paper money during the industrial economy. As technology increased so did the ideas of how businesses could function.

In the early days of the republic, however, some American leaders urged a broadening of the American economy. Alexander Hamilton, President Washington's secretary of the Treasury, and most members of the New England–based Federalist Party believed that for the United States to become fiscally sound it needed to sell products to the rest of the world. Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures" (1791) advocated larger, consumer-oriented businesses that could carve niches in world markets. External trade, of course, was Hamilton's impetus, but the mechanisms that Americans would create to achieve larger world markets would also change domestic buying.

The reason defining consumerism in the United States becomes complicated is because many people have different opinions on what is the precise definition of consumerism. Some people may say consumerism is government controlled and others may say the people decide how they will purchase what they want and need. The only correct viewpoint is that many other viewpoints are also correct. You see, Consumerism is such a bulky topic that many scholars lose focus on what it really is and how it affects our society. Consumerism is a term used to describe the effects of equating personal happiness with purchasing material possessions and consumption (Fritsh). The wants and needs of people based upon standards that are set in a given society and how those people acquire wealth. When you get to the essentials, that's what American consumerism has been based upon. The evolution of consumerism in the United States can be understood by dividing it into three basic components; trade, monetary policy and the digital economy. These types of economies can also be described as the agricultural economy, the industrial economy, and the post industrial economy.

Consumerism United States essay topic example

“The approach to Fair Trade becoming dominant among ATOs can be termed `partnership’, where partnership is defined as a trading relationship between stakeholders that has both market-based and ethical elements and that aims to be sustainable in the long term. For Fair Trade, the key stakeholders are the producers, the producer group, the ATO, and the consumer; and the partnership between these stakeholders is based on a combination of market and ethical elements.” (Tallontire, 2000: 167). Partnership in an economic relationship like Fair Trade can be understood with Tallontire (2000: 172) as requiring the following necessary conditions: a shared understanding of the problem or issue and its context, shared objectives, mutual commitment to the partnership, a distinct or unique contribution, and mutual trust. Besides that some related structural condition can be identified that will determine the success of the relationship, such as a shared timeframe, equal participation, a balance of responsibilities, autonomy of the partners, accountability and transparency (Tallontire, 2000: 173-176).

essays consumerism united states

Another reason why the idea of permanent acquisition of goods has become dominant in the minds of many people, both adults and adolescents, is the lack of skills necessary to maintain their own resources. Since they did not earn it themselves, the youth are often unaware of the value of money; they demand that their parents satisfy the desires instilled in them by advertising. According to a survey designed to measure children’s knowledge about financial management conducted in the United States by the charity organization Jump$tart Coalition, survey-takers scored an average of 52 percent. This percentage indicates a weak awareness of the usage of money (From Consumerism to Personal Bankruptcy, n.d., para. 16). Even adults would rather spend their disposable income on a new suit or an extravagant holiday than save it. On the other hand, many university and high school students take part-time jobs as graders or professors’ assistants not only to broaden their knowledge, but also to learn to use their hard-earned cash capably. Adults’ earnings have hit an all-time low due to the recession, and many of them are now trying to control their expenditure and pay off their debts. These factors weaken the indirect link between poor financial management and consumerism.

Consumerism in the United States - StudyMode

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Particularly, as
slavery and segregation had contributed to the establishment of a wealthy
ownership class in the United States, so had the nature of its 20th century
consumer culture helped to enforce separate racial societies. Thus, even
as white women struggled for recognition and equal rights, the climb from
domestic servitude would be a great deal more arduous for a female African
American culture which had been conditions through centuries of slavery
toward assumed domestic servitude. To this extent, the parallels which
Odem's text draws between slavery and female inequality bear a shared
relationship in defining America's gendered culture.
Today, women have in many ways been relieved of the domestic roles
once foisted upon them with no outlet of relief. Indeed, it is
increasingly common and standardized to find women in all walks of
professionalism and at positions of authority. Moreover, the premise that
the woman should be expected to……

Consumerism is a term used to describe the effects of equating ..

In many cases, consumerism is described by the viewpoints of customers. Thoughts of buyers about a certain product define a status of this particular product. There are several factors that promote consumerism. The wide use of a customer’s credit is one of them. Credit card organizations get a lot of income from credit card payments and interest revenues. For instance, in the United States, the pretax revenues from credit cards have risen to 360% from the year 1991 to 2002. The second factor is the lack of financial knowledge. Financial management is not taught in a formal education setting, and for this reason, people do not know how to plan the use of their money. Thirdly, there is aggressive and intrusive advertising that increases the familiarity of different products to consumers. Lastly, the change in personal values also plays a very important role. The story of stuff brings on a situation whereby consumerism has led negative impacts on the physical and the mental health, toxic substances are all over the shelf which contaminate the bodies and the environment of the users (Steven, 1998).


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By the 1880s and 1890s the modern advertising system was in place. Instead of simply serving as middlemen between businesses and media outlets, advertisers sold their services as designers of campaigns, promoters of products, and experts on the media. Branding, in which products came to be known by a specific brand name, became increasingly important in differentiating essentially similar products from each other in the market. As these brand-name products were distributed across formerly insurmountable barriers of geography by steamships and trains, people in diverse regions could consume the same products, inculcating a sense of nationalism. In this way, the Fordist era promoted a nation founded on the "democracy of goods" in which everyone used the same consumer products, collapsing consumerism with national identity. Yet this "imagined community" was highly stratified by race, gender, ethnicity, and class. While the Fordist era of mass production shifted the United States, as well as other nations, from a country of artisan production, regional cultures, and individualized commodities to one of national brands, this nationalism came at the expense of many members of the nation itself, particularly people of color, the working class, and women. Blacks, for example, were portrayed in advertisements of this era almost exclusively as happy servants or as icons of slavery, such as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben. Working-class people were also rarely seen in advertisements, which presented a relentlessly middle-or upper-class world.