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Politics at the Checkout Line

  • Wed, Jun 20 2007
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The evils of consumption have been trumpeted for over a century by many celebrated critics of capitalism. Karl Marx disparaged capitalism’s emphasis on consumption over production as a perversion of human nature. Thorstein Veblen sounded alarm over “conspicuous consumption” and economic waste, and John Kenneth Galbraith warned that excessive consumption fueled by advertising would defeat the public sector. More recently, the drumbeat has continued with Benjamin Barber's claim in Consumed that consumer culture hurts American democracy. And yet alongside these denunciations has come a surge of interest in a very different view. Increasingly, the case is being…

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