Rene Descartes, the 17th century French philosopher once said, “I think, therefore I am.” In today’s context it may be more like, “I buy, therefore I am.” Orchestrated wants driven by sophisticated advertising techniques have created a culture of consumption. Appetites for the latest hot thing are engineered. Media campaigns sell cool and sexy. Marketing is key. Data are collected. People are profiled, then targeted. Cell phones. Have to get the latest one with all new features, faster processor and design. We can’t be left behind. More sales means more profits. The capitalist economic system is predicated on making money and barely considers the environmental effects down the road. That’s somebody else’s problem. In the U.S., consumerism is connected to ideology. Freedom is equated with the ability to buy things. But the pattern of endless consumption is not sustainable.

About the speaker:

Justin Lewis is Professor of Communication at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, and Dean of Research for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cardiff University in the UK.  He has written widely about media, culture and politics. His books include Constructing Public Opinion, Shoot First and Ask Questions Later, Climate Change and the Media, The World of 24 Hour News, and Beyond Consumer Capitalism.

ON Alternative Radio | October 23, 2013 | 9:00 am

Media & Consumer Capitalism

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Rene Descartes, the 17th century French philosopher once said, “I think, therefore I am.” In today’s context it may be more like, “I buy, therefore I am.” Orchestrated wants driven by sophisticated advertising techniques have created a culture of consumption. Appetites for the latest hot thing are engineered. Media campaigns sell cool and sexy. Marketing is key. Data are collected. People are profiled, then targeted. Cell phones. Have to get the latest one with all new features, faster processor and design. We can’t be left behind. More sales means more profits. The capitalist economic system is predicated on making money and barely considers the environmental effects down the road. That’s somebody else’s problem. In the U.S., consumerism is connected to ideology. Freedom is equated with the ability to buy things. But the pattern of endless consumption is not sustainable.

About the speaker:

Justin Lewis is Professor of Communication at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, and Dean of Research for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cardiff University in the UK.  He has written widely about media, culture and politics. His books include Constructing Public Opinion, Shoot First and Ask Questions Later, Climate Change and the Media, The World of 24 Hour News, and Beyond Consumer Capitalism.

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