Consumption - North American Perspectives Essay

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! In the article Consumption - North American Perspectives, author Patricia Hynes explores and characterizes consumption and ties the subject to the environment and the individual and global “ecological footprint”. She attempts to apply a “woman-centered analysis” to consumerist patterns that have emerged in the Global North and more specifically, in North America as a means of furthering the goals of “redistributing and humanizing our use of natural resourses” as well as “consumer goods and services” and considering the deep impacts of pollution and our ecosystems. In the article, Hynes cites the work of World-watch researcher Alan Durning, whose work links the birth of a “consumer society” in the U.S. in the 1920ʼs “with the emergence of name brands, the rise of the car as the popular symbol of American upward mobility, and the birth of mass marketing through advertising”. In Consumption, the demographics of consumption are laid out and categorized and critiqued. Americans are included in one of three groups; being a part of the work-spend cycle, in which Americans are working more, enjoying leisure time less and never questioning the necessity of a full-time job, or being a part of the voluntary simplicity movement, where Americans are living better with less, and spending more time pursuing personal, more fulfilling interests. Hynes also evaluates the third group of green consumerists, or those who may be aware detriments of consumerist culture, and attempt to buy products who self-dub themselves “green”. ! I found myself nodding in understanding as she linked mass marketing to the creation of a culture whose “wants” are hardly distinguishable from their “needs”. She goes on to say say that the “cultivation of need by mass marketing” has become dissociated with the idea that consumption is cyclical, with rewards for the well-off and a brush off for the poor,

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