HOW DID IT COME TO THIS…?

We are a society where that cares more for things than each other, than for the oceans, than for the animals, than for the air we breath

Have you ever stopped to consider that you are part of a Pavlovian experiment?

You are being played like a second hand fiddle. The system has duped you and instilled in you a need and desire for “things.”

You are a puppet on a string manipulated by advertisers and big business.

You are the ventriloquist’s dummy saying what the master wants you to say…to repeat his mantra…”We need this, buy that.”

You are being bombarded by an average of 15,000 messages per month, constantly reminding you of things you need, things you must have to be happy, appreciated, recognized, admired.

Do you really want to be judged and valued by people who consider your clothes, car and watch as opposed to what is in your heart, mind, and body? Do you want to value yourself by your possession?

The advertisers make you believe you actually need those things. And after all, if everyone around you values those things just as you do, then surely it is the correct way to live your life. This is the philosophy of the collective: one mind many bodies.

They’ve made you into a gerbil on a revolving tread mill.

Money and material possessions are drugs. As soon as you have some, it doesn’t satiate the need, it only intensifies the desire for more. It never satisfies. It’s a disease, a sickness.

A study showed that people earning $70,000 a year in America are no happier than a person living in a corrugated aluminum shed in South Africa.

You may ask, “How could I have been so blind?”

The answer lies in the level of sophistication of the effort to create consumerism and the power of corporations and the then new industry of advertising. Here, in condensed form, is how they did it…

In order to explain consumerism, you must first understand scientific management. In 1909, Henry Ford invented the assembly line. That caused a revolution which led to the United States becoming the greatest power in the world. Workers were placed in a controlled environment and productivity increased by a thousand percent.

Scientific management, also called Taylorism, was a theory of management that dealt with workflows in the factories. Its main objective was improving labor productivity.
That development began with Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1880s, and 1890s within the manufacturing industries.

Taylor observed that most workers who are forced to perform repetitive tasks tended to work at the slowest rate that goes unpunished. Managers called it loafing, or malingering; workers called it getting through the day.

Taylor knew that scientific management could not work unless the workers benefited from the profit increases that it generated. But owners and managers believed that the profits could be reserved solely or mostly for themselves and the system could endure indefinitely merely through force of authority.

As life in the U.S. became increasingly standardized, workplace routine caused
Americans to shift their attention toward leisure-time activities. Pastimes became vital sources of fulfillment.

In their spare time, people went to the movies and gathered in stadiums to watch professional sports. In 1926 and 1927, the first radio networks were established. All across the country, people listened to the same shows.

While the radio was an indoor experience that people enjoyed in their homes, movie theaters allowed them to leave behind their daily surroundings and participate in the adventures that the big screen promised.”

Inventions, such as the car, radio and movies, opened the doors to a previously unknown world. The optimism of the 1920s was fueled by the emerging mass media empire, the advertising industry and the corporations that marketed illusions of fulfillment.

The development of consumer societies meant the erosion of the traditional values
and attitudes of thrift and prudence. Expanding consumption was necessary to create markets for the fruits of rising production. This required the nurture of qualities like wastefulness, self-indulgence, and artificial obsolescence. Advertisers sought to redefine people’s needs, encourage their wants and offer solutions to them via goods produced by corporations.

Surrounded by the bounty of their work – the television set, stereo, car – they were less likely to question the conditions of their work, the way it dominated their life. Advertisers constantly told them that those were the fruits of success, which was what life was all about. To question a system that delivered such plenty seemed perverse.

Production between 1860 and 1920 increased by twelve to fourteen times in the US, while the population only increased three times. Supply outstripped demand and problems of scarcity were replaced by problems of how to create more demand.

By the early 1920s, when American markets were reaching saturation, over-production and lack of consumer demand was blamed for recession. More goods were being produced than a population with set habits and means could consume.”

There were two schools of thought about how this problem should be solved. One was that work hours should be decreased and the economy stabilized so that production met current needs. This view was held by intellectuals, labor leaders, reformers, educators and religious leaders. It was commonly believed that consumer desires had limits that could be reached and that production beyond those limits would result in increased leisure time for all. The opposing view, mainly held by business people and
economists, was that overproduction could and should be solved by increasing consumption so that economic growth could continue.

Manufacturers needed to continually expand production so as to increase their profits. Others warned that a five-day week would undermine the work ethic by giving more time for leisure. If work took up less of the day it would be less important in
peoples’ lives. Some said: “I am for everything that will make work happier but against everything that will further subordinate its importance. The emphasis should be put on work, more work and better work, instead of upon leisure.

They also feared that given extra free time, people might become radicals. “Common people have to be kept at their desks and machines, lest they rise up against their betters.”

The desire to consume did not come naturally, it had to be learned. People had to move away from habits of strict thrift toward habits of ready spending.

Higher wages helped in this shift from the Protestant ethic of asceticism to one of consumerism that fitted with the required markets for mass production.

In this context it was important that leisure was not an alternative to work and an opportunity to reflect on life but rather a time for consumption. At the same time leisure had to be subordinate to work and importantly, a reason to work.

After the Second World War the idea of solving unemployment by reducing working hours disappeared from mainstream thinking. Leisure time became consumer-oriented. The identification of leisure with consumption led many to hard and steady work in disagreeable jobs.

People were being manipulated likes puppets in a show. Yet they embraced the concept and championed it to a far greater degree than the policy makers could ever have imagined.

We are now a culture, the richest on the planet, that wants nothing more than to buy goods that require the precious resources of the Earth, are built with planned obsolesce in mind, and in turn pollute the environment to an unsustainable degree.

Conspicuous consumption has helped help to sublimate and redirect urges that might otherwise be expressed politically or aggressively. To those who cannot change their whole lives or occupations, even a new pair of shoes or a dress is often a relief.

It is only as purchasers, or shoppers, that workers are treated with the courtesy worthy of a human being. What mattered in getting ahead and influencing people was the impression a person made on others. Ordinary people could enjoy the same products and goods that the people at the top did.

Advertisers are merchants of discontent who take advantage of the upgrading urge that people feel. With the help of installment plans and credit, they could purchase the signifiers of success. Advertising was so successful that people began diverting funds from savings into the purchase of a car or home that would enhance their status.

The philosophy of conspicuous consumption is the philosophy of futility. The idea that there were limits on consumer wants began to be eclipsed by the idea that such wants could be endlessly created.”

The decision-makers asked themselves, if such benefit could be derived by 9-5 control, what could be done by 5-9 control.

And that is when they took consumerism to the next level: bank loans, purchases on
margin, credit cards, constant, redundant TV commercials. They instilled a psycho-logical and physiological need in people for “things.” They told us what to make in the day, and what to buy in the evenings and on weekends.

Things, money, have never made anyone happy except for the few moments or weeks of the thrill of a new toy, after which the shine wears off and it is relegated to the pile of the mundane.

You are part of a scientific experiment that has succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the scientist and business community that created it. You have traded away your dreams for trinkets.

Now you’ll have to work just as hard, but in a new direction. You know you’ve been played; it’s time to play the corporations and the Banksters.

Do not buy new cars, new clothes, jewelry, fancy dinners, or toys. Make due with what you have. Preserve the old to bring in the new: new hobbies, more charity work, more creativity, more time for friends, God, nature and family.

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