petej + consumerism   232

The big polluters’ masterstroke was to blame the climate crisis on you and me | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian
But the biggest and most successful lie it tells is this: that the first great extermination is a matter of consumer choice. In response to the Guardian’s questions, some of the oil companies argued that they are not responsible for our decisions to use their products. But we are embedded in a system of their creation – a political, economic and physical infrastructure that creates an illusion of choice while, in reality, closing it down.

We are guided by an ideology so familiar and pervasive that we do not even recognise it as an ideology. It is called consumerism. It has been crafted with the help of skilful advertisers and marketers, by corporate celebrity culture, and by a media that casts us as the recipients of goods and services rather than the creators of political reality. It is locked in by transport, town planning and energy systems that make good choices all but impossible. It spreads like a stain through political systems, which have been systematically captured by lobbying and campaign finance, until political leaders cease to represent us, and work instead for the pollutocrats who fund them.

In such a system, individual choices are lost in the noise. Attempts to organise boycotts are notoriously difficult, and tend to work only when there is a narrow and immediate aim. The ideology of consumerism is highly effective at shifting blame: witness the current ranting in the billionaire press about the alleged hypocrisy of environmental activists. Everywhere I see rich westerners blaming planetary destruction on the birth rates of much poorer people, or on “the Chinese”. This individuation of responsibility, intrinsic to consumerism, blinds us to the real drivers of destruction.

The power of consumerism is that it renders us powerless. It traps us within a narrow circle of decision-making, in which we mistake insignificant choices between different varieties of destruction for effective change. It is, we must admit, a brilliant con.
climateChange  fossilFuels  carbonEmissions  consumerism  business  capitalism  HallamRoger  ExtinctionRebellion  activism  politics  socialMovements  nonviolence  assemblies  dctagged  dc:creator=MonbiotGeorge 
5 weeks ago by petej
The Economy Killed Millennials, Not Vice Versa - The Atlantic
Why would young people feel such revolutionary fervor? Maybe it’s not because Millennials have rejected the American dream, but rather because the economy has not only blocked their path to attaining it but punished them for trying to.
USA  economy  millennials  youth  income  spending  media  consumerism  housing  affordability  cars  DemocraticParty  education  debt  politics 
december 2018 by petej
Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam
The real purpose of digital capitalism is to extract value from the economy and deliver it to those at the top. If consumers find a way to retain some of that value for themselves, the thinking goes, you’re doing something wrong or “leaving money on the table.”
SiliconValley  Uber  monopolies  UniversalBasicIncome  consumerism  ownership  cooperatives  capitalism  assets  inequality  redistribution  dctagged  dc:creator=RushkoffDouglas 
october 2018 by petej
When Malls Saved the Suburbs From Despair - The Atlantic
And yet, the concept is not all that different from Victor Gruen’s original vision for the shopping mall. A place to gather, a place to shop, a place to relax, a place to live. The mall was and remains horrible in some ways, but useful and even magical in others. It yoked people to commerce, but it also gave them tools with which to manage that harness, to loosen it enough to live somewhat peacefully, even while collared to capitalism.

I can’t help but think that Americans’ days of hating the mall are numbered. When it gets replaced by Apple Town Squares, Walmart Supercenters, and the online-offline slurry of an ever-rising Amazon, we will miss these zoos of capitalism, these prisons of commerce, where consumerism roared and swelled but, inevitably, remained contained.
USA  shopping  malls  consumerism  middleClass  distribution  access  dctagged  dc:creator=BogostIan 
september 2018 by petej
No Alternative — Real Life
"Online interactivity has been limited to a few large sites oriented toward advertising and shopping. Scrolling through your feed — the word itself conjures a pig’s trough — feels more like flipping through channels than surfing the web of yore. What once seemed like the birth of an interactive and participatory new media environment has shifted to an ostensibly more consumer-friendly (and more scrutinized) method of watching television, and today’s cultural critics, rather than condemn television, help us use our high-speed connections to select which shows to “binge” on."

"But the rush back into the arms of establishment media seems like another kind of problem. It speaks to another simple solution, that the solution to Trump’s careening demagoguery is a return to the neoliberal technocracy and its officially sanctioned ideologies. It is a desire for a narrower world where corporations promise to, once again, produce a stable sense of shared reality through mass culture. If the world cannot be better, it can at least be predictable, the way television was. The new alternative is no alternative, again."
Internet  culture  subcultures  alternative  subsumption  irony  irreverence  transgression  consumerism  socialMedia  identity  control  alt-right  fakeNews  misinformation  media  newspapers  NewYorkTimes  WashingtonPost 
january 2018 by petej
Disrupt the Citizen | Online Only | n+1
What Plouffe and the ride-sharing companies understand is that, under capitalism, when markets are pitted against the state, the figure of the consumer can be invoked against the figure of the citizen. Consumption has in fact come to replace our original ideas of citizenship. As the sociologist Wolfgang Streeck has argued in his exceptional 2012 essay, “Citizens as Customers,” the government encouragement of consumer choice in the 1960s and ’70s “radiated” into the public sphere, making government seem shabby in comparison with the endlessly attractive world of consumer society. Political goods began to get judged by the same standards as commodities, and were often found wanting.
The result is that, in Streeck’s prediction, the “middle classes, who command enough purchasing power to rely on commercial rather than political means to get what they want, will lose interest in the complexities of collective preference-setting and decision-making, and find the sacrifices of individual utility required by participation in traditional politics no longer worthwhile.” The affluent find themselves bored by goods formerly subject to collective provision, such as public transportation, ceasing to pay for them, while thereby supporting private options. Consumer choice then stands in for political choice. When Ohio governor John Kasich proposed last year that he would “Uber-ize” the state’s government, he was appealing to this sense that politics should more closely resemble the latest trends in consumption.
Uber  KalanickTravis  narcissism  sharingEconomy  gigEconomy  culture  sexism  harassment  SiliconValley  exploitation  debt  PlouffeDavid  capitalism  consumerism  politics  commodification  Moda  housing  automation  driverlessCars  publicTransport  regulation  dctagged  dc:creator=SavalNikil 
july 2017 by petej
LENIN'S TOMB: On Forgetting Yourself
The politics of forgetting oneself would be a form of ‘anti-identity’ politics. It would be a politics of resistance to trends which force one to spend too much time on the self (which, in fact, would include not just the monopolisation of one’s attention by social media, but far more saliently all the forms of racism, sexism, homophobia and other kinds of ascriptive oppression that necessitate exhaustive work to redefine the self). It would begin with deliberately cultivating solitude and forgetting. It would acknowledge that all labour spent on the self is potentially displacement activity, wasted energy. And that, with that effort conserved, some sort of great work could be done.
identity  digitalIdentity  socialMedia  commodification  consumerism  narcissism  attention  surveillance  Panopticon  forgetting  dctagged  dc:creator=SeymourRichard 
february 2017 by petej
The crash in the pound punctures the delusion that Brexit Britain will flourish | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
"Think about those figures: a Britain that doesn’t make things, that can’t pay its way in the world and where two generations have been brought up believing that what your wages won’t pay, your credit will buy. As the promises for Brexit are broken and people get poorer; as the consumerist model breaks down, who do you think will pay the price?

The answer, I’d suggest, was on show in Birmingham last week. Without Brussels, the right still has one set of scapegoats left. They number the Muslim woman in the headscarf, the Pole in the wrong kebab shop, and the African cleaner on the nightbus."
UK  EU  Brexit  delusion  nostalgia  history  currency  pound  exchangeRates  deficit  manufacturing  industry  inflation  benefits  consumerism  xenophobia  racism  dctagged  dc:creator=ChakraborttyAditya  GBP 
october 2016 by petej
From shopping to naked selfies: how 'empowerment' lost its meaning | World news | The Guardian
"It is no surprise that I see so many adverts promising empowerment, because I am precisely the kind of person to whom empowerment is now marketed: white, thirtysomething, educated, middle class with disposable income. I don’t need to be empowered anymore than Kardashian does. Only those already in possession of quite a lot of power would feel empowered by leggings, or a TED talk, or naked selfies. Empowerment has become not only a synonym for self-indulgent narcissism, but a symbol of how identity politics can too often get distracted by those with the loudest voices and forget those most in need of it. “I think the most clear, direct way to empowerment is to be really, really true to yourself. It’s only recently that I’ve fully understood that,” Paltrow recently opined while promoting some designer perfume. I should have told that to those Indian schoolgirls back in the 90s: forget the computer literacy, just know yourselves. Feel the empowerment."
feminism  empowerment  commodification  subsumption  consumerism  narcissism 
april 2016 by petej
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