Take a road trip to any city or township in the United States.  You will find an inherit struggle that exists among those inhabiting the ‘wrong side of the tracks,‘ and their battle to cross over to the ‘right side.’  This is a social conflict that will never disappear.  In today’s consumer culture, the struggle is camouflaged in consumption, whereas, in antiquity its equivalent was preoccupation with distant relation to revered family lineage.  Not to say that doesn’t still exist, but when people strive to be Kim Kardashian, I think it’s safe to assume that aspired familial ties to nobility are as far removed as the reality of why Kim actually became famous.

Feeding upon and to consumer culture are the agendas of the advertisers which prey on the public’s desire to be seen as the ‘haves’ and not the ‘have-nots.”  I agree with JK3169 that the “exchange value for commodities has far exceeded the use-value.”  Consumers who create their identities and self-value through consumption have no one to blame but themselves when their financial and emotional lives are compromised in order to perpetuate an identity.  The advertisers are just the heroin dealer, not the administer of the syringe.

When reading Consumption Is Good For Thinking by Nestor Garcia Canclini, the author cites the consumption study of the Muria Gond of India.  “the Muria got richer than their neighbors, yet maintained a modest lifestyle.” (p.42)  Yeah, I guess Warren Buffet wasn’t the only one.  But within our consumer society here in America, many can’t get past the appearances factor.  If they could, they’d actually be making consumer choices instead of consumer conformityCanclini further illustrates that the study of consumption “as a marker of difference and distinction between classes and groups, has led to a focus on the symbolic and aesthetic aspects of the rationality of consumption.” (39)

Accountability and Individuality are quenchable attributes and much more proactive than being ‘thirsty.’  Thirsty never gets to the right side of the track, if there in fact really is one.

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