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Work, Buy, Consume, Die!: why capitalism needs the consumer dream and we don’t

    I asked the president, “What can we do to show support for America?” He said, “Mom, if you really want to help, buy, buy, buy”.

(Barbara Bush, 2001)

During the 1950s, at a time when the U.S. was in recession, Victor Lebow outlined what was to become one of the enduring tenets of global capitalism in the years to come:

    Our enormously productive economy demands we make consumption our way of life, that we convert buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things to be consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever accelerating rate.

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