For my History of American Consumerism class this week we’re reading some terrifically depressing stuff – if only because it marks a sort of economic ‘loss of innocence,’ if you will, for me. Believe me, I have no desire to live “off the grid,” but studying the history of American consumerism and consumption has effectively wiped me of any desire go shopping for shopping’s sake anytime in the near future.
On Friday my teacher lectured about supermarkets and landfills (how clever) and challenged us record every new package we open/use in one week – last Friday at 2pm to this coming Friday at 2pm.
I’m already up to 40! Just for my own personal use!
Last week we talked about 1950s optimism and the “throw-away society,” idea that was dominant after WW2. This week the readings are all from early 1960s critics. If you’re interested:
John Kenneth Galbraith – “The Dependence Effect” (from The End of Affluence); Vance Packard – The Wastemakers; Betty Friedan, “The Sexual Sell” (from The Feminine Mystique); and E.P. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful
*click images for full view