by Benjamin Barber - £12.99 WW Norton & Co (2008)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780393330892 | ISBN 10: 0393330893
A piercing and vital look at how capitalism is consuming U.S. society.
A powerful sequel to Benjamin R. Barber's best-selling Jihad vs. McWorld, Consumed offers a vivid portrait of a global economy that overproduces goods and targets children as consumers in a market where there are never enough shoppers-and where the primary goal is no longer to manufacture goods but needs. To explain how and why this has come about, Barber brings together extensive empirical research with an original theoretical framework for understanding our contemporary predicament.
Kidults, rejuveniles, twixters, adultescents—once upon a time, culture encouraged adults to grow up. Instead we hear Germans speak of "Nesthocker," Italians of "Mammone," Japanese of "Freeter," Indians of "Zippies," and the French of a "Tanguy" syndrome and "puériculture." But these pop neologisms signal more than just a passing trend; they point to a new culture of consumerism that encourages adults to remain as infantile as possible, at the same time that it trains children to consume from an ever younger age.
Disturbing, provocative, and compelling, Consumed examines phenomena as seemingly disparate as adolescent fashion trends for adults, megachurches, declining voter participation, the privatization of the public sphere, branding, and the new 24-hour shopper to show how the freedoms of the free market have undermined the freedoms of the deliberative adult citizen. He asserts that in place of the Protestant ethic once associated with capitalism—encouraging self-restraint, preparation for the future, protection of and self-sacrifice for children and community, and other characteristics of adulthood—we are constantly being seduced into an "infantilist" ethic of consumption.
With brilliance and depth, Barber confronts the likely consequences for our children, our liberty, and our citizenship, and shows finally how citizens can resist and overcome the "civic schizophrenia" in which our impulses as consumers are forever in conflict with our convictions as citizens.
(Price & availability last checked: July 2018)
In booklists: Capitalism, Corporate Power & Globalisation, USA: Culture and Society, Consumerism & Commodification, In categories: Anti-Capitalism & Global Inequality, Media & Culture, World - North America, Environment & Animal Rights,