“Living in a material world and I am a material girl. You know that we are living in a material world and I am a material girl.” This lyric from the popular song sung by the 80’s pop cultural phenomenon, Madonna, illustrates materialism in America. Materialism consumes American culture daily.
From having the latest iPhone to having the trendiest clothes, materialism and the American dream go hand in hand. The American dream could possibly be destroying the American people. Despite what other people may think, materialism is America. Materialism stabilizes our economy, allows us to compete in the changing world and gives the American people instant gratification that they want. Despite the demoralizing ways of materialism, materialism is what keeps our economy afloat. The popular, door busting holiday of Black Friday , as a leading example, what more could one need? With next to nothing Wii consoles, what more could make little Jimmy happier as he vigorously tears open the wrapping paper on Christmas morning? “U.
S. spending has reached $9.7 billion in the first 20 days of the holiday season, up 14 percent versus 2010″ (Rueters) This is because of parents’ consistent need to fulfill their child’s every whim and wish, America’s economy continues to flourish. With flourish comes the creating of jobs. This example shows the popular economic theory of supply and demand. This theory is what makes America so successful today.
Because of this theory, “Luxuries that had to be turned into necessities and how entire cultural habits had to be transformed for this consumption is introduced here.” (Shah) With mass consumption, the Gillespie 2 economy remains stable for a period of time. America relies on its materialistic views to keep it a float. If the economy isn’t doing well, deflation occurs. Deflation is when prices for goods go down.
This usually sends our stock market into havoc. This causes panic and people suffer but because of America’s materialistic views, this occurs rarely. Materialism and its many economic theories are what help keep America going. “America was ranked 5th in global competitiveness in 2011.” (Heilprin) This happened during a forum discussing the competitiveness of top nations around the world. American and its other countries are constantly competing for the top spot in global competitiveness and even though America dropped in ranking, it was still praised.
“The forum praised the U.S. for its productivity, highly sophisticated and innovative companies, excellent universities and flexible labor market” (Heilprin) The reason behind this was materialism. With America still in the top 5, the competitive spirit is still there. As noted, our “innovative companies” are the main reason why competiveness is in existence for this country. With desirable products produced, materialism is likely to occur.
Due to Americans’ “gotta have it” nature, materialism fuels out drive to compete against the top nations like Sweden. Through out history, materialism is what fueled America to begin to form. It even got to the point were America placed an embargo to stop British products in 1807. With America willing to compete it soon became an emerging nation at the time. This emerging nation was ,of course, fueled by materialism. Our competitiveness defined our way in the society that was quickly form around our aspiring nation.
This was all thanks to Americans’ ingenuity and willing to buy. Gillespie 3 The modern day American is known for their constant need for everything now. The following cartoon by Jim Morin illustrates this below: (Morin) Though this cartoon depicts a grumpy Uncle Sam and a disappointed Obama, this cartoon illustrates exactly what Americans are. Americans want everything and they want everything now. This attitude demonstrates itself completely in materialism.
Materialism is what comes from instant gratification. Instant gratification can be defined as getting something when you want it. A perfect example of this is a little girl in the middle of the Barbie aisle in Toy ‘R Us. Little Susie will scream relentlessly until her mommy gives in, in embarrassment. Hey, the kid earned it with those set of lungs. Instant gratification happened right then and there in an American retail store.
This happens all the time in many retail stores but its not just for kids, adults do it too. When a person sees something they want, they feel the need to have it. Instant gratification may have its down sides, like bills stacking up or debtors calling constantly. This only happens with those are really greedy and didn’t deserve it. Fortunately, there are Americans that take responsibility with what they buy.
With this value Gillespie 4 in mind, American materialism is defining our economy from sea to shining sea. Materialism is what defines America completely. Without materialism, our economy would tank, people wouldn’t feel the need to be competitive or feel the need for instant gratification. Materialism may cause opposing views but generally, it is a good thing for the future of America. With intelligent, hard-working father’s to start our country on its path, materialism was inevitably on its way.
With the consistent change occurring in our nation, materialism will always come with newest technology. Gillespie 5 Bibliography Heliprin, John. “US drops to 5th place in global competivness.” MSNBCC. N.p.
, 2011. Web. 4 Dec. 2011. ;http://www.msnbc.
msn.com/id/44423519/ns/ business-stocks_and_economy/t/us-falls-th-global-competitiveness-survey-shows/ #.Ttu_ZeApKgAns/business-stocks_and_economy/t/ us-falls-th-global-competitiveness-survey-shows/#.Ttu_ZeApKgA;. Morin, Jim.
Cartoon. Miami Herald 21 Oct. 2009: n. pag. Miami Herald.
Web. 4 Dec. 2011. ;http://www.miamiherald.com;. Rueter. Business ; Financial, Breaking News ; International News. N.p.
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;http://www.reuters.com/;. Shah, Anup. “Global Issues:Consumption and Consumerism.
” Newsweek (Mar.-Apr. 2011): n. pag. ProQuest Discovery.
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