Articles on Consumerism

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John F. Kennedy’s 1962 speech inspired the modern consumer rights movement. AP Photo/Bill Allen

Consumer rights are worthless without enforcement

JFK pushed consumer rights to the top of the national agenda in 1962, leading to a raft of new laws offering new protections. But without enforcement, such rights are meaningless.
Federal employees rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

How a government shutdown affects the economy

The government has been partially closed since Dec. 22, making it the second-longest shutdown on record. A finance professor who studied the 2013 shutdown explains the economic impact.
Don’t fret if your kids are starting to doubt Santa’s magic. Coming to disbelieve is not particularly distressing for them and most come to their own conclusions.

The science of saying goodbye to Santa

When your kids stop believing, it's probably harder on you than on them.
Paper not plastic. Adina Habich/Shutterstock.com

How to have yourself a plastic-free Christmas

Christmas is hectic, and it can be easy just to go with the flow and vow to cut your plastic use in the new year. But here are some easy steps you can take now to make your Christmas plastic-free.
Both the Santa story and consumer culture promote the ideal of wish-fulfilment, but parents can model adaptability and a healthy understanding of limitations by supporting children through disappointment.

Disappointment about gifts is good for kids who have enough

Hide the credit cards and instead build traditions with your kids. Supporting a child through gift disappointment is important to their emotional, cognitive and social development.
Record companies released stereo demonstration albums that showcased how sound could move from left to right, creating a sense of movement. From the collection of Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder

How stereo was first sold to a skeptical public

Sixty years ago, stereo promised to forever change the way people listened to music. But how could record companies convince customers to buy a new record player, speakers and amplifier?
Roxy Jacenko and daughter Pixie (centre) at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2016. Pixie’s Instagram account has more than 100,000 followers and she has a signature line of hair bows. Dan Himbrechts

Friday essay: family as ‘brand’ – the rise of the digital mumpreneur

A growing number of parents are making money out of their children by turning them into social media celebrities. But the chimera of corporate branding is no antidote for lives lived in precarious times.
Do you distrust the companies that profit from the goods and services you buy? Research suggests most of us do. (Shutterstock)

Why we think businesses are out to get us

Research shows that consumers don't like it when businesses make money. Why?
Research indicates that up to a third of all food is wasted – but also shows that anti-waste campaigns frequently backfire. Rick/Flickr

When anti-waste campaigns backfire

Research shows that campaigns that try to make consumers feel guilty about the amount they waste often make things worse, not better. A new study poins the way to more effective anti-waste campaigns.

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