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By Benjamin R. Barber | April 15, 2007
The crisis in subprime mortgages betrays a deeper predicament facing consumer capitalism triumphant: The "Protestant ethos" of hard work and deferred gratification has been replaced by an infantilist ethos of easy credit and impulsive consumption that puts democracy and the market system at risk. Capitalism's core virtue is that it marries altruism and self-interest. In producing goods and services that answer real consumer needs, it secures a profit for producers. Doing good for others turns out to entail doing well for yourself.
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NEWS
December 1, 2013
So it's OK to shop after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack but not to spend money during a happy time ( "Thanks for not shopping," Nov. 25)? Consumerism is as American as apple pie. Some families consider shopping a bonding experience. Passing judgment on people who have been out of work for several years due to our lame economy is short-sighted and condescending. I am not a shopper or a mass consumer, but I certainly don't consider spending money on people one loves to be bad behavior.
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FEATURES
By GLENN MCNATT and GLENN MCNATT,SUN ART CRITIC | August 9, 2006
Consumerism, an economic ideology based on the substitution of manufactured wants for basic human needs, is deeply entrenched in American life, and it is the subject of Material Matters, an amusing, ironic and occasionally outrageous exhibition featuring the works of 10 American and European artists at Maryland Art Place. The show, one of the continuing off-site events from last month's Artscape festival, was curated by Jason Hughes, founder of Baltimore's innovative alternative exhibition space Gallery Four.
NEWS
August 10, 2012
Not long ago, in the "Readers Respond" column, one of your readers said that President Barack Obama's "failure to prevail" in the recent debt ceiling fiasco "speaks to his failure in leadership. " It clearly does not. The debt ceiling "crisis" is not new at all. The only things prevailing are ignorance, greed and ego in a materialistic society. No single person can stem the tide of our self-indulging species, which seems determined to devour the planet and all of its resources, including the extinction of any other species that gets in the way. What it "speaks to" is the cost of decades of buying on credit for covetous, materialistic Americans - which would include you and me - programmed by a mantra after World War II that urged all of us to "Keep up with the Joneses.
NEWS
By Bill Glauber and Bill Glauber,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | February 22, 2001
LONDON - It's another hard day of performance art and clearing out of closets for Michael Landy. Dressed in a blue boiler suit and standing on a scaffold, the 37-year-old British artist is watching as his lifetime's possessions literally pass along a conveyor belt, each object destined for an industrial shredding machine. He is examining them this one last time in company with an audience of strangers. David Bowie records? To be sent to the shredder. An air intake box from a 1988 Saab 900?
ENTERTAINMENT
July 27, 2006
Midlife love The lowdown -- As its contribution to this summer's Baltimore Playwrights Festival, the Vagabond Players will look at midlife love in Susan Middaugh's A Modern Pas de Deux, opening tomorrow. Under Barry Feinstein's direction, Steve Lichtenstein portrays a middle-aged bachelor and Peggy Dorsey portrays a divorced woman. A singles dance brings their characters together in this production, which features swing dancing choreographed by Carolyn Walter. If you go -- Showtimes at the Vagabonds, 806 S. Broadway, are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 6. Tickets are $15. Call 410-563-9135.
NEWS
December 31, 2006
The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century By Steven Watts Henry Ford set off the consumer revolution by producing a car affordable to the masses, all the while lamenting the moral toll exacted by consumerism. He believed in giving his workers a living wage, though he was entirely opposed to union labor. He had a warm and loving relationship with his wife but sired a son with another woman. A rabid anti-Semite, he embraced African-American workers in the era of Jim Crow.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Pakenham | March 11, 2001
"Diners, Bowling Alleys, and Trailer Parks: Chasing the American Dream in the Postwar Consumer Culture," by Andrew Hurley (Basic Books, 390 pages, $27). This is serious business: The cultural evolution in the United States in the generation that flowered immediately after World War II. Replete with scholarly endnotes and learned references, it could easily have been soporific or impenetrable. Instead, it is an enchanting, respectful yet clear-eyed exploration of the explosion of what now is called consumerism and the development of a prosperous working-class culture, unleashed by the end of a hideous war that had followed a ghastly depression.
NEWS
August 3, 2009
STANLEY LEBERGOTT, 93 Economist who favored consumer culture Stanley Lebergott, 93, a retired economist and professor whose influential books and articles maintained that consumerism had brought positive changes to the American standard of living, died July 24 of cardiac arrest at his home in Middletown, Conn. Mr. Lebergott, a former government economist and Wesleyan University professor, took issue with those who disdained "consumerism" as wasteful, pointless, even immoral. Consumption, he maintained, has always been an expression of human longing rather than mere acquisitiveness.
FEATURES
By Rashod D. Ollison and Rashod D. Ollison,Sun Pop Music Critic | May 10, 2008
From the start, the Roots were an anomaly: a rap group that uses live instruments in lieu of samples and turntables. In the '90s, as hip-hop became flashier and the genre's biggest hits mostly glorified American pathologies - ruthless violence and gross consumerism - the nine-piece Philly unit became more earnestly political. Over the course of 18 years, the Roots, who play Pier Six Pavilion tonight, have remained anomalous. Save for two gold albums - 1999's Things Fall Apart, which contained the Grammy-winning "You Got Me," featuring Erykah Badu, and 2003's Phrenology - the band has never had a true smash.
EXPLORE
By Diane Brown, dmbrown@comcast.net | November 28, 2011
The fella who launched the petition to "save Thanksgiving" by trying to stop Target's midnight opening on Black Friday probably felt pretty good about his feel-good measure, which, ultimately, is what the petition amounted to. As it turns out, rallying against the retail giant on change.org really didn't accomplish anything, despite the nearly 200,000 cyber signers who believed in Anthony Hardwick's dream that Americans would circumvent their consumerist...
BUSINESS
By Liz F. Kay | April 1, 2011
Hey everybody, National Financial Literacy Month has arrived! It's scheduled to overlap with the tail end of tax season, which is always a good time to take a moment to review your finances and set up a plan for the coming year. Think of it as spring cleaning for both your file cabinets and your wallet. Get started with information from two government resources: MyMoney.gov and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau . Celebrate this weekend at these events: --- See the Rev. Billy preach against the evils of consumerism at 7 p.m. tonight (Friday)
NEWS
By Michael Cross-Barnet | December 25, 2009
Can the spirit of Christmas be found in a dining room in Baltimore where three Jewish guys are sitting around a table, drinking hot cider and singing carols? I'll try to answer that question, but first, some background. A while ago, I began to feel dissatisfied with Christmas. I couldn't put my finger on it, but something was missing. Sure, my wife and kids and I did many typically Christmassy things. Cards were written and mailed. Seasonal foods were prepared and served. Family members arrived from distant places.
NEWS
August 3, 2009
STANLEY LEBERGOTT, 93 Economist who favored consumer culture Stanley Lebergott, 93, a retired economist and professor whose influential books and articles maintained that consumerism had brought positive changes to the American standard of living, died July 24 of cardiac arrest at his home in Middletown, Conn. Mr. Lebergott, a former government economist and Wesleyan University professor, took issue with those who disdained "consumerism" as wasteful, pointless, even immoral. Consumption, he maintained, has always been an expression of human longing rather than mere acquisitiveness.
FEATURES
By Rashod D. Ollison and Rashod D. Ollison,Sun Pop Music Critic | May 10, 2008
From the start, the Roots were an anomaly: a rap group that uses live instruments in lieu of samples and turntables. In the '90s, as hip-hop became flashier and the genre's biggest hits mostly glorified American pathologies - ruthless violence and gross consumerism - the nine-piece Philly unit became more earnestly political. Over the course of 18 years, the Roots, who play Pier Six Pavilion tonight, have remained anomalous. Save for two gold albums - 1999's Things Fall Apart, which contained the Grammy-winning "You Got Me," featuring Erykah Badu, and 2003's Phrenology - the band has never had a true smash.
NEWS
By Joe Burris and Joe Burris,sun reporter | July 22, 2007
Like any caring father, Benjamin Barber bemoans the everyday temptations that prey upon adolescents like his 15-year-old daughter Cornelia. Lately, he has been speaking out about such ills, yet he doesn't mention drugs, alcohol or schoolmates applying peer pressure. Instead, he talks about product billboards along the highway. The pop-up ads on the Internet. The endless stream of television commercials and other marketing tools aiming to convince kids that there's a product or service out there that they must have.
NEWS
August 10, 2012
Not long ago, in the "Readers Respond" column, one of your readers said that President Barack Obama's "failure to prevail" in the recent debt ceiling fiasco "speaks to his failure in leadership. " It clearly does not. The debt ceiling "crisis" is not new at all. The only things prevailing are ignorance, greed and ego in a materialistic society. No single person can stem the tide of our self-indulging species, which seems determined to devour the planet and all of its resources, including the extinction of any other species that gets in the way. What it "speaks to" is the cost of decades of buying on credit for covetous, materialistic Americans - which would include you and me - programmed by a mantra after World War II that urged all of us to "Keep up with the Joneses.
BUSINESS
By Liz F. Kay | April 1, 2011
Hey everybody, National Financial Literacy Month has arrived! It's scheduled to overlap with the tail end of tax season, which is always a good time to take a moment to review your finances and set up a plan for the coming year. Think of it as spring cleaning for both your file cabinets and your wallet. Get started with information from two government resources: MyMoney.gov and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau . Celebrate this weekend at these events: --- See the Rev. Billy preach against the evils of consumerism at 7 p.m. tonight (Friday)
NEWS
By Benjamin R. Barber | April 15, 2007
The crisis in subprime mortgages betrays a deeper predicament facing consumer capitalism triumphant: The "Protestant ethos" of hard work and deferred gratification has been replaced by an infantilist ethos of easy credit and impulsive consumption that puts democracy and the market system at risk. Capitalism's core virtue is that it marries altruism and self-interest. In producing goods and services that answer real consumer needs, it secures a profit for producers. Doing good for others turns out to entail doing well for yourself.
NEWS
December 31, 2006
The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century By Steven Watts Henry Ford set off the consumer revolution by producing a car affordable to the masses, all the while lamenting the moral toll exacted by consumerism. He believed in giving his workers a living wage, though he was entirely opposed to union labor. He had a warm and loving relationship with his wife but sired a son with another woman. A rabid anti-Semite, he embraced African-American workers in the era of Jim Crow.
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