If the mass consumption of the last half of the twentieth century had a catchphrase, it was "keeping up with the Joneses," and in the past decade or two, that has become almost a fearsome mantra. Manufacturers and retailers capitalized on this ethic of identification through acquisition and effectively marketed ready-made taste and status. Were you Armani or L.L. Bean? IKEA or Pottery Barn? ShopRite, Winn-Dixie, Kroger or Whole Foods?
Popular culture became so infected with the brand-name obsession that it became next to impossible to tell the ads from the actual content. I wonder if someone picking up The Devil Wears Prada fifty years from now would have any idea what the title means. And what of the women of Sex and the City, who uttered the names of their favorite shoe and handbag designers as often as they did the names of their best friends?
Looking back, it doesn't even seem real.
--From The Great Reset by Richard Florida
One of the unexpected blessings of a really severe recession is that it tends to cure consumerism. With any luck, our society's last 30 years of rampantly conspicuous consumerism is finally--hopefully!--drawing to a close. We've entered a new era.
Readers, I want to know what you are doing differently now. How do you think about brands, luxury products, big-ticket purchases and expensive items now compared to several years ago? How have your priorities changed since the "great reset" of our economy?
Have you "downsized" your lives or your careers? What's changed about the cars you buy, the vacations you take, the major purchases you make?
And here's my last question--and it's the one I want you to answer as honestly as you can: are you any less happy now that you've made these changes?
Share your thoughts!
How To Be Manipulated By a Brand
Attack of the Cheaps! Eight Ideas to Save $500-$700 a Month
How to Defeat the Retail Industry's Ninja Mind Tricks
How can I support Casual Kitchen?
If you enjoy reading Casual Kitchen, tell a friend and spread the word! You can also support me by purchasing items from Amazon.com via links on this site, or by linking to me or subscribing to my RSS feed. Finally, you can consider submitting this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, digg or stumbleupon. Thank you for your support!