Summary of: Consumerism as a form of social control.
(extract from my last year’s BA dissertation)

Herbert Marcuse strongly criticizes consumerism, arguing that it is a form of social control.
He suggests* that the system we live in may claim to be democratic, but it is actually Authoritarian in that a few individuals dictate our perceptions of freedom by only allowing us “choices to buy” for happiness.*
In this state of “unfreedom”*… consumers act irrationally by;

  • working more than they are required to in order to fulfil actual basic needs,
  • by ignoring the psychologically destructive effects,
  • by ignoring the waste and environmental damage it causes,
  • and, by searching for social connection through material items*.

* [Marcuse, Herbert (1991). “Introduction to the Second Edition”. One-dimensional Man: studies in ideology of advanced industrial society. London: Routledge. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-415-07429-2.]
* [Marcuse, Herbert (1991). “Introduction to the Second Edition”. One-dimensional Man: studies in ideology of advanced industrial society. London: Routledge. pp. 1, 7. ISBN 978-0-415-07429-2]
* [Marcuse, Herbert (1991). “Chapter 1”. One-dimensional Man: studies in ideology of advanced industrial society. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-07429-2]

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