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The United States of America is considered as a country with a well-developed economy and decent prosperity for its residents. However, the American prosperity and the way of how people of this country consume products tell about the degradation rather than national development. Many Americans do not set high goals in their life or do not think about creating something valuable for society. As a rule, the average American mostly thinks of how to earn more money and how to spend them. Capitalism as a form of the economic system encourages people to find ways of producing more various goods and services to maintain the whole mechanism in which people exist. It makes Americans and people all over the world choose consumption as a priority in the lives. If the American nation continues to consume everything as it does right now, it will lead to negative consequences for our planet.
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The Advertisement “Buy Nothing Day”
The advertisement “Buy Nothing Day” shortly highlights the main characteristics and features of the American way of life. The first part of this advertisement shows a fat pig that looks out of the North American continent. The picture of a pig in the middle of the continent indicates the average mindset of regular Americans. It provides us with a clear understanding that American society is built upon the value of consumption. A pig that lives on a farm is an animal that spends the whole life eating food. This short video holds parallels between the way of life a pig and American society lead. Moreover, it shows how they are similar in behavior. The other important thing that is represented with the help of a pig is the problem of obesity. Usually, the farm pig due to the constant process of consumption of food is very fat and big. The same situation can be observed in the United States. Many people look fat and have excess weight. The problem of obesity is a national problem that continues to increase in its scale every year. The advertisement also says about how many times the regular American consumes more than a person from Mexico, China, and India. This comparison is very important because it highlights the differences between the ways of life of American society and other countries. The method of comparison gives a more comprehensive picture of the American lifestyle and shows the scale of American consumption.
The second part of the advertising shows the huge pile of garbage that is a result of the American way of life and consumption. It indicates that the constant and instance process of American consumption can lead to catastrophic consequences for the U.S. as well as the whole planet. The image of a dump with garbage disposal tells that Americans are not really concerned with the problem of environmental pollution. The way how American society lives does not allow people to understand the issue of pollution as many people even do not suspect or are not aware of the existence of these dumps. People live in the cities and are too busy with problems that do not allow them to think about something more important. American society also has a different attitude towards nature than other countries. “Europe, particularly northern Europe, is more environmentally conscious than the United States, despite Americans’ sincere and passionate resolution to be green” (Rosenthal).
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The picture of car traffic is also included in this part. It stands out as the way of how Americans use transport. In comparison with Europe and other countries, Americans like to use their own vehicles for transportation needs. The situation in Europe is different. Europeans rely on public transport more than Americans. They prefer to use the subway, trams, or buses to get home or to a place where they work. In turn, Americans prefer to use their own cars. Many families have several cars to provide each member of the family with his or her own transport. From this follows that the American nation should plan its internal affairs and foreign policy based on the increased demand for natural resources. The Americans should be worried about the ability to provide people of the United States with all kinds of resources all the time. This entire situation is defining the way of life of American society and its government policy. Each year this situation becomes more critical for the American nation and the world.
Consumerism is a process of constant consumption of different products and services to maintain people with all necessary things that they need for decent existence and to survive. The current consumption process goes far beyond the struggle for physical existence. It could be stated that the vast majority of the population is involved in this process. The economic system is closely intertwined with the culture of consumption. The business produces such cultural phenomena as tastes, desires, values, norms of behavior, and interests. Competing manufacturers create competition among consumers. A person in a consumer society wants to consume more and more. Advertising plays an important role in the process of consumption. It penetrates the deepest layers of consciousness. Adam Freeland decided to use the power of advertising. However, he used it to emphasize the negative effect of consumption on the development of human beings as a smart and wise creature that was created for the development of the soul but not for the blind consumption with the products that most people do not need.
Adam Freeland showed the real side of consumption in his video called “We Want Your Soul.” In his short video, he perfectly showed the absurdity of the humans’ consumption of things that come into their life. In this short video, there is a person who constantly consumes different products and services. There is an interesting moment at the beginning of the video, when a man after waking up on the beach, tastes a drink and throws it away. However, for the second time, he begins to like it. There is shown as a mechanism of how people become victims of consumerism. From the very beginning, children who were just born, fall into the trap of consumption. Probably, they do not need this. Most of all they need love and attention from their parents. From the moment of birth, a person is surrounded by different abilities for consumption. The voice in the background tells exactly what things will be offered to this person throughout whole his life. There is no option for him to write a book or invent something useful for society. There are only things that will provide him with the needs of the consumer society. There is no option for this person to develop his soul and become a respectful citizen or kind member of his family. Finally, there is no option for him to be free from all of the necessary things.
The life of a regular citizen is completely determined in the consumer society. The ordinary person needs to finish college or university to find a job. This is also needed to get a loan for buying a car or house and pay for it for many years. The process of consumption is endless. Once people buy a car, they need to buy fuel, repair it, etc. After a while, a new model of the car will be available that will be better than the old one. This mechanism works for almost all goods and products. The important point is that people will be always afraid to change something in their life in this case because they need to earn money to pay for everything. At the end of this video, a person is trying to run away from this system. The number of shirts that he takes off from himself represents shackles that prevent him from escape from the process of consumption.
Both these anti-consumption campaigns were launched to show the negative sides of the process of consumption and underline the way of how American society lives. If people do not escape from this system, it will bring harmful effects to the global population.