Consumerism and Response to Zukin

Consumerism and Response to Zukin

In Sharon Zukin’s essay “Attention shoppers… ” she explains that Americans shop because their trying to chase their dreams; weather they be, higher social status, greater education, the ownership of a home,… etc… She also explains that in the last one hundred years or so Americans have been taught to shop from birth, and, that Americans no longer have the basic survival skills of making and growing things for themselves. She also explains that shopping habits change from child, to teenager, to adult.

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All of which are different aspects of consumerism; which, in and of itself the pursuit of more. Consumerism is a wheel of repetition; in which, Americans seek happiness,wealth, and stability. Americans strive for happiness, it is in human nature to want to be happy. But Americans (or any human for that matter), due to chemical makeup of the brain, can never truly be happy, because happiness is caused by endorphins released in the brain, which where off; ergo, its a never ending circle of trying to find happiness.

American culture is founded upon the idea of the pursuit of happiness. Some people try to find happiness by shopping, because, for some people shopping releases endorphins which gives them a rush ,of what feels like, happiness. Wealth; what is wealth? by definition it is a great quantity or store of money. The pursuit of wealth is the methamphetamine of the consumeristic culture of America. The concept of affluenza- if there is more money; it will be spent.

It is the consumerist’s disease; In this, the more money that is aquired will be used to buy things making it necessary for Americans to make more money. American perception is that if a little is good, more is better. It makes the pursuit of wealth a never ending race to more and more wealth, only to spend it. In the pursuit of wealth we pursue stability. Stability by definition is resistance to change. Americans (and humans in general) need stability in order to survive in everyday life.

To much change in a general term creates chaos in the human brain, stressing it out and more or less short circuiting it. Stability leads to chaos in the sense that there is the chaos of maintaining it. Stability and chaos are inseparable states of being, creating a never ending circle of repetition. In Zukin’s essay, summarized in the introduction, she explains different aspects of consumerism and the effect it has on Americans. In the pursuit of happiness, wealth, and stability there is repetition creating the need for consumerism.

Endorphins in the brain are constantly being released creating the feeling of happiness; in return, wearing off and creating the vicious circle that is the pursuit of happiness. the pursuit of wealth coincides with the consumerist’s disease of affluenza; in which, the more wealth accumulated the more products consumed creating the repetitions act that is consumerism. Stability is necessary for consumerism because in the maintenance of stability the is consumption. Do to these repetitive pursuits consumerism is present; notice that consumerism is a repetitive act in and of itself.


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