Consumerism has had a great impact on the development of the American society and economics. Consumerism influences not only the society, but also the behavior of an individual. This phenomenon appeared in the end of the nineteenth century, but its effects in the United States became evident only after the 1930s. People’s attitude to the process of purchasing became less responsible and, consequently, goods turnover increased. Throughout the decades, consumerism evolved into a global order which occupied both the country and the whole world. Nowadays, consumerism influences shaping of the consumer culture globally.
The Great Depression was a crucial time period not only for the American economy, but also for the development of consumerism. The Great Depression only interrupted the phenomenon, but incompletely. Because of the extreme economic crisis people were not able to buy goods, as it happened during the Roaring Twenties. Even after the World War II people were too poor to participate in consumerism significantly. At the same time, residents became more interested in the features of the products they buy, for instance, in quality, consumer safety, after the Great Depression, the Federal Trade Commission Act was amended to secure the rights of consumers in the United States. It was one of the first attempts to protect consumers from unfair traders and hazardous goods. However, it also made people more trustful to traders. Moreover, traders began to be more concerned about people’s needs and desires. In this case, a behaviorist theory, such as the revealed preference theory, became crucial for learning market needs and consumers’ desires. Because of behaviorist theories, marketing became a discipline taught in colleges and universities, and desires and needs of consumers became more important than before.
One of the changes that caused growing consumption was extensive production of goods, which was not regulated with regards to consumers’ needs. People were unprepared to see the great range of goods. The United States has produced very different things in quantities and varieties never seen before. Another major change impacting consumerism is greater buying power of consumers comparing to the 1930s. However, this situation is not caused by larger incomes, but by more democratic loan policy. It allows people to buy more expensive things than they can possibly afford. Additionally, consumers became able to buy more often than it was necessary. Contemporary extravagance would seem strange in the 1930s after the Great Depression. Modern consumers are more self-assured than the people who lived before the 1960s.
In conclusion, consumerism adapts to the needs of people and dynamic social mind. For this reason, its techniques of influence on consumers are developing, too. It is especially evident on the example of the evolution of consumerism in the United States. Tracing the development of consumerism since the Great Depression, the production of goods extremely increased. Market competition resulted in a wide range of products and services. Although not all the Americans could join the wave of consumerism because of poverty after the World War II, the softer loan policy made them more solvent. As a result, it helped people to maintain the desire to buy more new goods, and, thus, maintain the system of consumerism. Furthermore, marketing techniques became more sophisticated, as traders started to pay more attention to the desires and needs of consumers. Finally, facing the great market competition, advertising became more important for marketers. These major changes promoted the evolution of consumerism, which has became a global ideology that daily involves millions of people around the world.
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