beyond consumerism?

Kayla Rybacki, YDEI, Fall 2014

Advertising generates a culture of consumerism upon which capitalism depends.  The current public health crisis demonstrates systemic breakdown:  as one part (health care) collapses, the rest of the system is paralyzed.  This includes our ability to shop whenever, wherever, and for whatever we want and to work for wages to do that consumption.   All of  which undermines the “growth” cycle by which we measure the health of our economy.    

How is this impacting you?  What are the drawbacks and benefits?  Does this breakdown offer a moment for us to consider a society beyond consumerism?  How might that impact the entertainment industries?  What might a culture beyond consumerism look like? 

Barbara Kruger

The readings and videos raise questions about the meanings and impacts of consumerism and suggest alternatives. Reading questions –written response required.  Send response notes to instructor as a Google doc via

  1. What’s the story told by these readings?  What are some take-aways to discuss in class?
  2. How are current restrictions on consumerism impacting you?  What are some drawbacks and benefits?  What might a culture beyond consumerism look like?  


  1.  Annie Leonard.  The Story of Electronics.  [7:46]  2010. 

2.   Ian Bullock.  Fulfillment Paradox.  Adbusters, July 14, 2009.

3. Gross Domestic Product  — economists must learn to subtract.


5.  Annie Leonard. The Story of Solutions. [9:06]  Oct 1, 2013.