Articles on Consumerism

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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.
Some young people are getting into credit card debt to achieve the ideal lives they see portrayed on social media. Shutterstock

Sharing your #shopping on social media can damage your health and your wallet

When young adults create and share online content focused on consumer products, it can trigger a social comparison process that results in feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem.
The socialist traffic symbol Ampelmann, seen here in Berlin, constitutes an international brand empire. In the age of mass consumerism, what’s behind a nostalgia for socialist symbols and the sugarcoating of socialist regimes? (Shutterstock)

The nostalgia for socialism in the age of consumerism

In the age of rampant consumerism, there is nonetheless an odd nostalgia for socialist regimes and symbols. What does it mean?
A man browsing the shoe department in a shopping centre. Can he really afford new shoes, and does he really need them? Alex Buirds/Wikimedia

Why we perceive ourselves as richer than we think we are

Under some circumstances, people may feel wealthier than they actually are and this makes them psychologically more prone to increase their spending, as well as their borrowing.
Queer Eye has made some strides. In this new version, the producers have addressed broader issues of gender, race, religion and politics than before. However, the show as before, showcases consumerism as the way to a better life. (Netflix)

‘Queer Eye’ and the myth of the self-made man

The new Queer Eye has viewers hooked on its emotional ride through men's lives, aiming to embrace diversity and counter toxic masculinity. Yet its focus on consumerism threatens its lofty ideals.
Living alongside humans gets noisier all the time. Katrina Burgers/Shutterstock.com

Your drive to the shops makes life pretty noisy for whales

From the oil that makes your petrol, to car parts, to the groceries and other things in your weekly shop, retail consumerism is driving a boom in the amount of noise in the world's oceans.

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