In The New Consumerism, Schor states that we spend income on private consumption, saving, leisure and public provision. There are several problems in this case. Schor explains that private consumption is one of the reasons contributing to the development of up-scaled lifestyles now and in the past. Why? One of the explanations is the comparison and competition between households and neighbors. For example, “In the 1950s and 1960s, when Americans were keeping up with the Joneses down the street; they typically compared themselves with other households of similar incomes” (Schor p.8). Now, we try to reach the upper class instead. What people want in the contemporary society is the quality of goods, the pursuit of upper-middle class standards and to have equality with wealthy people. She says that “Trophy homes, diamonds of a carat or more, granite countertops, and sport utility vehicles now are the primary consumer symbols.”(page 9) Also, to compete in the global economy, parents want their kids to “attend ‘good schools’.” This is because they want their kids to have a good job, and a good salary in the future is the result of making American people concentrate on the leadership sphere. It is also resulting in the destruction of the commodity production sphere in America.
In the consumer knows the best, she shows us that companies selling consumer goods make consumers think that they are the best with the purpose of hooking and convincing the consumers that the businesses’ services should be put on the top. Moreover, in The Conventional Views, she illustrates that consumers: maximize their well-being; know what they want; understand product information “fully”; they will not regret tomorrow’s choices made today; do not worry about comparing to or competing with others. The consumers think they have power, are independent, and fully understand where and how the products are made. Some of them do not know that businesses buy goods cheap, markup the price, and then discount and sell it so as to make the consumers think they are proud of being well-informed and good shopper.
However, there are some disadvantages and debates from the conventional view of consumption. The idea that consumers are well-informed is not true. Consumers are trapped and targeted by advertisement and research from businesses. Corporations are not totally truthful on commercials to children, they promote damaging and negative products (alcohol and drugs), and sex and harmful products. Moreover, companies examine the consumer’s mind and behavior and use this to set traps for the consumer. There are several examples in this case.
Firstly, According to “The Secret History of the Credit Card”, I understand that even though credit cards can make us feel comfortable to patronize businesses, and can be used to buy stuff and travel to other countries, we acquire debt if we are not able to control how many things we buy from the credit card or are unable to pay it back because of interests and penalties from the bank. Those who accidently lose their jobs, or are manipulated by advertisement, and do not give…