The Cleverest Trick of Consumerism

One of the cleverest tricks of consumerism and the corporations that have practiced it through their advertising campaigns, was to convince us that we are what we buy.   We have implicitly been told that our identity is determined by our purchases; the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the gadgets we buy are “us,” and hence, if any of these is outmoded or inadequate, it is we personally who are lacking.

When we are not told that we are fully what we buy, we are informed that we must buy things to fix all of the things that are “wrong” with what we are.

Advertising creates problems out of aspects of us that were not problematic, and then offers to sell us the solutions to these nonexistent problems.  We get confused, dazzled by its repetition of its messages, and even come to conflate what we “need” with what we “want” until we feel that what we want is what we need.

We must disentangle needs from wants, disentangle identity from consumption and possession, and reclaim ourselves from the consumerist ideologies that have tried to buy us so that we might buy their products.

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