The Unz Review:ㅤThe Consumer Society, by Larry Romanoff

the-unz-review:ㅤthe-consumer-society,-by-larry-romanoff

06-08-22 04:10:00,

I don’t know if Americans were ever fiscally responsible, if they ever had a time when saving was valued, where you didn’t borrow for consumption, and where low-quality throwaway goods and products were avoided, but if they did experience such a period in their history, it was brief. Twenty years before Elmer Wheeler’s discovery of sizzle, Bernays and his friends had already instilled the equally important concept of spending tomorrow’s money today. The process began with Layaway plans, then moved to ‘Pay as you Go’, ‘No money Down’, ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’, and other easy credit schemes. Television ads displayed beautiful people enjoying their new home and car, kitchen appliances and furniture, TV, clothing and vacations, and not having to pay for them today. The marketers hired Bernays’ psychologists to create a tactical plan to change American values from saving to perpetual consumption, and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. US marketers conceived and created a ‘throw-away’ society, where appearance was more important than substance, where quality was sacrificed for fashion. US automakers changed the entire external appearance of their models each year, converting transportation into fashion accessory with advertising campaigns that made people ashamed of driving last year’s car. This is so true that since the 1950s, one of the largest ‘fashion events’ of the year was the unveiling by American auto manufacturers of their new models. There was never any attention paid to engineering or quality; it was all superficial consumerism.

Most Americans are too young to realise that their throwaway society is a recent development.

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