Modern Consumerism

scan00011“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.”

~Mad Magazine

Mocking the reality of modern American society, Mad Magazine points out our fixation with installments and our ridiculous obsession with consumerism. We seem to have become professional consumers, smitten with the idea that we can purchase something now, and pay for it later.


With little or no payment down, it is just a matter of arranging “easy weekly payments”, not bothering to estimate how long and how much exactly we will end up paying. My impression is, too many people are willing to buy a product or a service, just because it is a ‘good bargain’. The same people fail to comprehend it is not a ‘good bargain’ of you do n’t really need the thing. I could actually imagine people purchasing elephants, if they perceive this as a good deal. This is how serious the pathology of our consumerism is.

Statistics by the new Road Map foundation (NRM) reveal that “at the very time that family sizes have dropped precipitously in North America, the average house size has almost doubled from 1,100 in 1949 to 2,060 square feet in 1993” (“All-Consuming Passion: Waking up from the American Dream”). Is this not troubling? People struggle with mortgage payments and pay thousands of dollars in interest alone, only to have a big space they don’t actually need.

More disturbing statistics depict the world of highly-modernized society that confuses progress with increased consumption, and mistakes happiness with the possession of objects:

“In 1987, the number of shopping centers surpassed the number of high schools in the United states”;

“Americans spend an average of 6 hours a week shopping and 40 minutes a week playing with their children.”

In 1953, the chairman of president Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisors declared that the American economy’s “ultimate purpose” was to “produce more consumer goods” (David Suzuki, The Sacred Balance).

Paul Wachtel, professor of economics in New York University, explains: “having more and newer things each year has become not just something we want but something we need.” The idea of having more has become the center of our identity and our security, and we are caught up by it as the addict by his drugs.” Is this our new reality? Is this our new morality??

Please, do not be devoted to consumerism! Commit to what truly matters!

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