Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Consumerism and Values

In the article The New Politics of Consumption, Schor puts and emphasis on finding out what drives consumers to look upward and compete with their social reference group for luxury. In the movie Click, with Adam Sandler, we see an example of a father dealing with the social pressures of providing his two kids with the best life possible. He tries to convince himself that his family can be content with their modest living and tries not to let the the snobby little boy next door bragging about his dads new sports car bother him. However, the father gets his values confused. We get a flash forward image of a wealthy yet workaholic father who has barely been in his children's lives in order to get them what they want. This turned out to be worse for the families well being- the kids have all the status, fashionable clothes, and things they want yet there is no longer any sense of a caring family . The presence of the father and family in the children's lives ended up being the best solution to their well-being. I realized from this movie, that continued pursuit of a luxurious lifestyle is a life of stress with a loss of family time and community. The family next door will always be raising the bar and price with the latest technology. This also has to do with the old Levittown "keeping up with the Joneses" concept Schor mentions. We just can't let these social pressures bother us into believing that social standing comes from what we consume. Of course its easier said than done.

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