This course has provided insights into the consumer culture. The course has shown how the American consumer culture leads people to various financial problems. Financial prosperity depends on how people spend their income. Most Americans rely heavily on credit to fulfill their needs. What was clear from the reading from the course is that most people who take credit use for unnecessary purposes. Most people take credit to buy designer clothing, go on holidays, or buy fancy cars. This increases people’s financial burden. To achieve financial freedom, people should invest the money in assets that would bring them good returns. However, this does not mean that taking loans is necessarily wrong.
The American consumer culture is so huge that it contributes to all of America’s income. The American consumer culture has gradually grown since the Second World War to its current state. After the Second World War, industries developed mass production processes that enabled them produce huge quantities of materials. The end of the war triggered the first spending frenzy as Americans acquired vast sums of money due to the war. This was the first step in the formulation of the American consumer culture. Companies began advertising products that people initially thought they could never own (Kennedy, Cohen & Piehl 620). The American consumer culture led to the creation of a lavish lifestyle. It set the bar for developing nations that seek economic prosperity. The American century had just begun.
Consumers should also choose what they buy wisely. There are various places where people can buy high quality products at extremely low prices. Pawnshops are one of the places where consumers can buy highly priced products at very low prices. Buying goods at these locations would enable people save thousands of dollars (Scurlock 9). However, most people do not prefer buying from pawnshops. This is because, pawnshops sell used items whereas, people prefer buying new products.
This course has also highlighted the need to buy only products that one needs. Most Americans buy things that they do not need. They end up dumping the products after using them for a short time. This means that they wasted the money they spent in buying the products. Consumers desire to own devices that incorporate the latest technology and the latest designer clothing. This makes consumers discard their old items. The American dream determines the spending patterns of people significantly. The American dream portrays Americans as people who have lavish lifestyles. This is one of the main factors that make people spend vast sums of money on luxurious products, which they do not require.
Advertisements affect the spending patterns of people. Nowadays, no American goes for a whole day without seeing or witnessing an advertisement. Some of the advertising mediums that companies use include TV, magazines, billboards, and radio. These advertising mediums reach virtually every American. Advertisements are one of the main factors that influence consumers’ spending patterns (Levine 66). Advertising and consumption of advertisement makes the most nations envy America.
However, the American consumer culture has created various problems. People would go to great lengths to have a lavish lifestyle. This makes Americans huge consumers of credit. However, the American consumer is slowly changing. Economic recession led to a reduction of the disposable income that people used to have. This is slowly changing the spending patterns of most Americans. Americans are gradually reducing the amount of money they spend on luxurious products. Consumers also tend to buy low priced products. This has led to the proliferation of low priced Chinese products. However, the quality of most Chinese products is lower compared to similar products manufactured in American. This has made various parties claim that the American century is over.