Tag Archives: consumer culture

Love and Consumer Culture

We cannot talk about sex and love without considering consumer culture. The explosion in the circulation of things since the industrial revolution, and especially over the last decade has made everything a target for consumption. Humans are no exception and we consume each other as products (saying to ourselves, as we are taught by the mass media, that it is “love”). But in fact we care much less about each other because we do not have the time or inclination.

Remember that the Romantic movement came with the industrial revolution. It was both an attempt to escape from the horror of what Walter Benjamin called “the age of mechanical reproduction” resulting from the industrial revolution and the “great transformation” remaking human society and also a product thereof. Ironically many efforts to find something human and natural that gives shelter from a world gone mad with consumption are themselves products of that trend. Starbucks is the perfect example. A cozy space that seems more human, more natural, closer to a world we wish existed. But Starbucks, or the I Phone are as much a product of that ruthless mechanical reproduction (and now mechanical consumption) as anything.

I have not seen much discussion of the linkage of the various disturbing trends in our society, in our politics, to the rate of technological change. But I would argue that if we cannot see that link, we cannot see anything at all.


“16 Steps to address the environmental crisis: Things you have already thought of!” (essay)

16 Steps to address the environmental crisis

Steps that you have already thought of, but that you have never seen written down anywhere!

Emanuel Pastreich

August 19, 2012

One of the great tragedies of our age is the ineffectiveness of efforts to address the environmental issues of our day. People are distracted from the problem of climate change by a specious debate about whether climate change is as dangerous, or dramatic, as some would claim, or whether it might be less severe, even a part of natural processes. That discussion is a remarkable waste of time. Even if you believed there was no climate change whatsoever (which is hard to argue considering that the Middle East was once fertile farmland), the crisis of overpopulation, water scarcity and pollution of ground water, the destruction of forests and ecosystems, over-fishing and damage to the atmosphere itself is more than enough to suggest radical change is taking place in our environment that puts us all at risk. Read more of this post