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Friday, August 5, 2011

Consumerism / Materialism

The term "consumerism" was first used in 1915 to refer to "advocacy of the rights and interests of consumers" (Oxford English Dictionary) but in this article the term "consumerism" refers to the sense first used in 1960, "emphasis on or preoccupation with the acquisition of consumer goods" (Oxford English Dictionary).
I view Consumerism in a most negative light, I think Americans have lost their identities and left them conditioned to covet and worship only consumer goods, and completely forgetting about life’s simple pleasures . This false prophet is marketing happiness , but instead delivers spiritual bankruptcy .. It seems that people are conditioned to buy consumer goods they don’t need , can’t afford and quickly tire of , these “treasures” eventually fill garages and storage facilities leaving consumers empty. I see the Eat Local buy Local and Gardening movement as a step away from Consumerism , In the last year I've met many interesting and informed people , Farmers , Gardeners and Blogers. I’m also encouraged when I see organizations like Slow Food and Urban Oasis/Earth Learning  setting up school gardens and teaching young people good nutrition and gardening . I hope there is a message about the values of working , and less emphasis on materialism ..It might be that not everything important in life is found at the Shopping Mall and a credit card will not buy happiness …

Last season at Deering Bay Yacht and Country Club  we began a program teaching students  Gardening, Nutrition and Ecology
Daniella teaches the students  seed starting
Daniella's  workshop was very popular, the students took home individual plants
The students really enjoy planting !
Temple Beth Am 4th graders  having fun, they took home 2 pineapple plants
End of the season Banquet , sample what you planted
The students sampled the  fresh produce and voted on their favorite
They called it the best day ever ! ( not just because they got out of school )
Our garden had a balance of vegetables , herbs and flowers
The kids really enjoyed pulling carrots and  parsnips
after the banquet we turned them loose in the garden and let them " be kids "
Beginning in the 1990s, the most frequent reason given for attending college had changed to making a lot of money, outranking reasons such as becoming an authority in a field or helping others in difficulty. This correlates with the rise of
Businesses have realized that wealthy consumers are the most attractive targets of marketing. The upper class's tastes, lifestyles, and preferences trickle down to become the standard for all consumers. The not so wealthy consumers can “purchase something new that will speak of their place in the tradition of affluence”.
Emulation is also a core component of 21st century consumerism. As a general trend, regular consumers seek to emulate those who are above them in the social hierarchy. The poor strive to imitate the wealthy and the wealthy imitate celebrities and other icons. The celebrity endorsement of products can be seen as evidence of the desire of modern consumers to purchase products partly or solely to emulate people of higher social status. This purchasing behavior may co-exist in the mind of a consumer with an image of oneself as being an individualist
[11] A consumer can have the instant gratification of purchasing an expensive item to improve social status.
materialism[citation needed], specifically the technological aspect: the increasing prevalence of compact disc players, digital media, personal computers, and cellular telephones. Madeline Levine criticized what she saw as a large change in American culture – “a shift away from values of community, spirituality, and integrity, and toward competition, materialism and disconnection.” [10]

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