Percentage of American households ...

Are you happy yet?

We were high on the thrill of early capitalism. We loved the cars, the airplanes, the endless aisles of mega marts teeming with mass-produced goodies. We loved the validation that each new purchase brought. And then came the technology: the flat screens, MacBooks, iPhones and Xboxes. Every technological breakthrough made us feel more connected, more human and more whole. But then the economy collapsed and we began to tumble … suddenly we weren’t so sure anymore. The line between necessity and luxury – once blurred beyond distinction – came into sudden, violent focus. What pleasure is there in a 50-inch plasma if you don’t have a wall to hang it on? What joy does a brand new automobile bring if climate change looms large on the horizon? The wisdom of credit, and the attendant practice of living well beyond our means, suddenly hit home. And now, as belts tighten and paradigms crumble, we are beginning to hear the first whispers of a post-consumer era … the dawning of a post-materialist age.

34 comments on the article “Are You Happy Yet?”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 34

Page 2 of 4

Lloyd Pitcher.

Rawr,

I'm glad you wrote your response because it proves a lot of points I've been trying to make. First of all, what this magazine caters to intellectually is a younger audience who is making a simple emotional reaction against consumerism. While I agree with them that we should be fighting against consumerism, I hate the way Adbusters goes about this. Their methods are anti-intellectual and based on pop-trends that have very little basis in truth.

Secondly, regarding climate change, I can assure you that your "ecology professor" is wrong. There is substantial opinion against global warming yet it gets blocked by the media powerhouse that is behind creating the new "green economy". I have posted this before, but check out this video from the BBC. It is a good introduction to the "Global Warming Swindle". http://en.sevenload.com/videos/UsTF3KX-The-Great-Global-Warming-Swindle

Finally, I agree completely with your argument about not keeping the status quo in energy use. This doesn't mean that the government and ecological groups should lie to me in order to achieve their ends. It should be done truthfully. We shouldn't be buying oil overseas and we should be looking for home-grown cheaper sources. We should be eliminating the burning of fossil fuels for the purpose of pollution control.

Anonymous

Proclamations of a new era of post consumerism are bogus. Just look at the lines forming in front of your local wa mart to get an idea of how ridiculous this suggestion is. I agree that people are generally not as happy trapped and in the consumerist debt spiral but the sheep are still happily being slaughtered. Push this message and save a fellow sheep if you can but remember to thank your great aunt for the bulk tube socks you get this holiday season.

ball hugger

This question should be posed to the world, there may be a "post material" age dawning in America, but materialism is exploding all over the rest of the third world.

Up until China started revving up its economic engine, it was a pretty much a first world assumption that these nations could never consume resources in the way the West did- all these tropes are coded subtly in sAdbuster articles. When we talk about the environment, when we talk about "Japanese Simplicity", the "Sparse Asian Aesthetic", or when we fret over consumer spending domestically without understanding the effect neolib capitalism, western individualism and consumption has had on the rest of the world it is rhetoric about limiting consumption of the world's capital resources by the Non-Western world plain and simple. The history of Capitalism in the West viz the Developing World is like a friend who eats a whole pie, describes to you how great the pie was, how necessary it was for him to eat the pie without sharing and why you'd be better off not eating any of the pie.

The First World consciously adopts population control policies, in Africa and poor countries, and uses this horse shit about environmentalism as a limiting factor on the growth of emerging nations like China. Less C02 emissions = less development. Its all about using your leverage to prevent others from sharing your wealth or from raising the price of raw materials by, god-forbid, wanting to build an infrastructure of their own. This is called "The Greening of Hate". The rhetoric is always racist, not Klan Cross burning racist, but racist in the assumption of a privileged position.

We are all beneficiaries and unconscious speakers of the narrative of American Exceptionalism and Entitlement, even bAdbusters is perfectly ensconced in the system too chuffed with itself to recognize how NOT-radical their medium and stance truly is, or maybe just controlled by some more sinister government arm to troll through comments to find potentially subversive individuals and jail them by 2012- We'll never know. ANYWHIZ,

The frightening implications of pushing capitalism on to China (the ultimate command and control economy, which as Zizek predicts may be even more dynamic and resillient than neolib capitalism, the time will come when the Chinese loan industry pays the piper, and we'll see what the government does) is that not only does our mantle of power cease, the dream of neolib capitalism truly dies- when China successfully adverts a depression through authoritarianism. So please get your radical goggles on, its not all just about America. The global economy is a big fat diarrhea fart on the map of the world. Let us expand the scope, see the structure of economics that makes this whole discussion practically irrelevant.

WHO CARES HOW AMERICANS CONSUME... the answer lies in how the rest of the world wishes to consume. The "self determination" of neolib civil rights inidividualist mantras, now reflected as a big ugly consuming third world. It's the essence of the zombie movie. So, the American government is actively involved in population control policy, and if need be, war war war, that's all that is on the horizon. Sorrrrry...

Either way, now, about half of the world's population desires to live as half a billion once did since and so it doesn't really matter how small your stupid carbon foot print is, how many mpgs get you, if you want to go solar, if Bam Bam wants to green America. The rest of the world, poor and hungry with the Hollywood cock shook in their face for decades now wants a piece of the friend pie... And it will be UGLY.

My only prescription? Nuke. Them. All

B9

OK, what are we talking about? Is a post-materialist age the one after we lose our dependence on a material world? Would that be Heaven or cyberspace?

I want to assert the point that we have - and always will have - a material existence, or no existence at all. So let's take materialism as the thesis. The antithesis is what? Idealism? Spirituality? Nothingness?

Digging a well in Africa is materialist. Preaching neo-fundamentalist Christianity or Islam is idealist or some form of captured, politicized spirituality. Which one brings water to the village?

Capitalism is notoriously idealist - that is, founded on speculation (not just financial speculation but philosophical speculation on the perfectibility of humans in pursuit of enlightened self-interest). Periodically, capitalism runs out of steam and the percentages of those people who see themselves as winning or losing shift. There is a loss of faith and a period of exacerbated tensions and political extremism (in the '30s we got fascism versus state socialism, with liberalism coming up the middle to win). The Dirty Thirties did not produce post-materialism; instead they strengthened the hand of populist avarice, and the post-war consumer explosion.

Bread on the table is materialist. Knowing the life cycles of wheat, water and yeast is materialism. The sun on your face is materialist. The sun, the atmosphere that filters it, your face all exist materially, not just as ideas or ethical constructs.

We always will need to consume, if we are alive. Yes, we can examine the scale and necessity of much of our consumption but we do have material necessities such as food and shelter.

But consumerism and materialism are not the same thing. They are opposites inasmuch as unbridled consumerism has been based on our attempts to escape or override the realities of material (read: mortal) existence.

We don't need, and can't have, post-materialism. We need, and might construct, shared ethics grounded in what our senses tell us about the physical world we live in.

ball hugger

*sigh*, let's just wax poetic about semantics because it makes us sound smart. we're on a message board! girls can't tell if you'rve even a guy on these things! who are you fucking trying to impress with your two years of community college?

Nonethless bowelmovement-9 is keeping our terms in line so we don;t sound like a bunch of bourgeois assholes.

we're not talking about materialism in any philosophical sense. to reiterate the discussion topic; "have americans reduced their consumption, is there a cultural tide turning towards less consumerism", sAdbusters tends to speak in hyperbole, a rhetorical strategy that I hoped had fallen since the end of the nineties, yet still resonates with most of the silly idiots with money and political connections that peruse this schlock,

what sort of radical ideal can we espouse amidst the contemporary white noise of cold war ideologies, 9/11 rhetoric and the type of capitalism that we find ourselves in? bowelmovement-9 asks for some protofacist solution to all our worldly problems, but does s/he attempt to interrogate any of them? NO.

to keep neolib capitalism rolling, (since the structure is exactly what B9 needs so he can have his lattes and sit pensively in a starbucks while he tries to sound smart) we need a shared ethics, an international body to government economic transactions, to be the buyer of last resort, in effect, we need to internationalize economy politburos, etc. create a new world capitalist order.

B9 invokes historicity in order to justify his weak association between "materialism" and capitalism" because he's really a moron. that capitalism is indefatigueably here to say! Wow what a cock sucker, fair enough, Naomi Kline, shock doctrine; this latest crisis merely consolidates power, but let us NOT be afraid enough to speak our minds about the type of socialist "ANTI-CONSUMERIST" society we wish to develop, rather than getting quagmire'd in defining terms.

JESUS

I declare people like B9 to be fair game when the revolution begins (i.e. the first to be pilloried or hung from high tension wires, as a lesson to anyone who wishes to dilute the cause... christ!)

anyway,

Anonymous

you got a lot of hate and anger, seems like your projecting an awful lot onto somethings you know nothing about, get over yourself.

ball hugger

hegemony at its best... too scared to go toe-to-toe anonymous? damn. interrogate my assumptions, cocksucker, i dare you.

perforated

the us lectures the 3rd world on free trade and capitalism but allows themselves to do the exact opposite, ie giving itself protectionism but forcing lesser nations into privatisation under pressures of debt repayment so that their assets can be picked up. its imf's way. this wont be changing anytime soon. buy an ipod or dont it really doesnt matter, theres a better more profitable strategy than reliance upon siphoning off citizens token money. empirialism has changed obviously a bit, now its not so necessary always to have physical presence globally, but base stations make it a bit easier. the obamas speech this week on american history uses exactly the same words as from any warmongering empire. we have improved science, we only want to help them help themselves etc.. to be able to influence and control is the aim, money naturally follows. never has a president so quickly sold out his campaign ideals i dont think. a naive hope but when he choses the same people to sit around his office, change was surely not forthcoming. the agenda for the environment is still voluntary, ie no agreement. what pressure can than there be to challenge the most super of powers. green gestures keep some content and quieten the easily pleased grumpies. just wait until china starts ransoming the us to its debts. then the righteous underdog can be brought in to bark.

VegansGreen

Not sure if anyone is interested but I found this site that looks like it is still under construction...but has a good message: http://www.keepamericafat.com

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.