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social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts

Consumerism is a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-greater amounts.


  • Excess and deficiency are equally are at fault.
  • U.S. consumers and industry dispose of enough aluminum to rebuild the commercial air fleet every three months; enough iron and steel to continuously supply all automakers; enough glass to fill New York's World Trade Center every two weeks.
  • Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy.
  • Be glad that you're greedy; the national economy would collapse if you weren't.
  • Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.
  • Racial injustice, war, urban blight, and environmental rape have a common denominator in our exploitative economic system.
  • Eat and drink, but waste not by excess; verily He loves not the excessive.
  • … the consumerist pornography of advertising
    • Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress, (2004) Chapter 5, note 68.
  • Under present conditions, people are preoccupied with consumer goods not because they are brainwashed but because buying is the one pleasurable activity not only permitted but actively encouraged by our rulers. The pleasure of eating an ice cream cone may be minor compared to the pleasure of meaningful, autonomous work, but the former is easily available and the latter is not. A poor family would undoubtedly rather have a decent apartment than a new TV, but since they are unlikely to get the apartment, what is to be gained by not getting the TV?
  • He who knows he has enough is rich
    • Tao Te Ching Chapter 33
  • Mass consumption, advertising, and mass art are a corporate Frankenstein; while they reinforce the system, they also undermine it. By continually pushing the message that we have the right to gratification now, consumerism at its most expansive encouraged a demand for fulfillment that could not so easily be contained by products.
    • Ellen Willis, "Introduction", Beginning to See the Light (1981).

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