The Consumer Culture

Are Americans becoming too materialistic?


American society revolves around consumption to such an extent that more than two-thirds of the economy involves the buying and selling of consumer goods. Critics say consumerism has made Americans too materialistic, seducing them into working too hard and spending too little time with their families, all because they want more money to buy more things. Defenders of consumerism say that people generally make informed choices about work and family and that “experts” should not tell them how to live their lives. Much of the debate focuses on consumerism's impact on children. Some say that television advertisements directed at kids convey overly materialistic messages and should be limited or even prohibited. But others argue that parents, not the state, should decide whether children watch commercials ...

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