Download Consumerism in World History: The Global Transformation of by Peter N. Stearns PDF

By Peter N. Stearns

Popular historian Peter Stearn offers an unique and ground-breaking examine on consumerism as either a world and old phenomenon. The publication is an interesting exploration of the area during which we are living, and is compulsive studying for the overall reader and scholars alike.

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Additional resources for Consumerism in World History: The Global Transformation of Desire (Themes in World History) (2001)

Sample text

Several other issues remain. One involves both the range and intensity of early consumerism. The causes discussed above are so compelling that it may be tempting to assume that consumerism was more deeply rooted in the eighteenth century than in fact it was. As the previous chapter has already suggested, we do not know exactly how many people were caught up in consumer interests, or with what degree of commitment. The causes themselves help us differentiate certain groups. Urban people were more quickly and thoroughly involved than rural.

Some of the constraints were monetary. Many workers were paid badly, many suffered from periodic layoffs and other uncertainties. Costs of city housing and even food could eat into budgets. The margin for consumerism was small, sometimes nonexistent. But there was more involved. In an unfamiliar setting, many workers chose leisure interests, even ones that cost some money, that were not primarily consumerist. They preferred to socialize with their colleagues in cheap bars than to spend on more explicitly consumer items.

So though the European pattern was unique in one sense – it did not develop with any other fully consumerist model available for imitation – the causes involved deserve wider attention. But third: societies outside Europe would have their own mix of factors, that would speed, delay or shape consumerism distinctively. Even the United States, so close to European conditions in many ways, would take some distinctive turns because of unusual cultural features including a deeper commitment to religion.

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