The following demonstrates a commonly utilized structure for essays. Our writing guide will direct you as you compose your essay on consumer culture.
How to start: Introduction and Thesis
Your introduction acts as your essay’s ‘map,’ indicating to your reader the points and main arguments which will be developed in your essay. When composing your introduction for your paper on consumer culture, begin with an orientation by asserting a concise general statement which leads your reader into the topic, demonstrating how that particular topic pertains to the discipline field. Follow this by asserting your thesis statement (your succinct response to the given question), then assert your argument’s outline.
- Opening Sentence. Begin writing your paper by asserting a general statement regarding your topic that captures your reader’s attention. This could be a question, relevant quotation, definition, fascinating fact, analogy, anecdote, the stance you will take, or a plight that requires a solution.
- Context. Provide information needed by the reader to comprehend the topic.
- Thesis Statement. Assert your stance on the topic which you will back with proof in your essay’s body paragraphs.
Example of the introduction with the thesis statement
The word utilized when describing the effects of equalizing personal happiness with acquiring material consumption and possessions is consumerism. Today, we exist in a consumer culture possessed universe. Consumption comprises our daily lives and structures our daily agendas. The meanings, costs, and values of items we consume are now increasingly significant parts of our personal and social experiences. The key factor affecting our actions like this is the news media as it is crammed with information concerning consumption – not specifically in the form of advertising but additionally as news about lifestyles, economic indicators, and business. However, none of those described above informs us how we became a culture which associates freedom with the freedom of purchasing anything we desire and as grounds for self-fulfillment.
How to write body paragraphs
Upon the completion of your introduction, next, you will compose your body paragraphs. Your body paragraphs must have the following facets:
- A coherent topic sentence
- Supporting detail and specific evidence
- Examples, cohesion, and unity
- Seamless transitions between sentences and paragraphs
- A concluding sentence tying details or evidence to the main point.
A topic sentence appears at the paragraph’s start and directs the paragraph. A topic sentence is the paragraph’s mini-thesis, and it serves to unify the paragraph’s contents. Everything following in the paragraph must relate to the topic sentence. All body-paragraphs must present supporting detail and must be fully developed. This detail is in the form of statistics, expert quotes, and examples. Your body paragraphs require the utilization of outside sources and research; this information backs your topic sentence. Your body paragraphs should transition seamlessly into each other.
- Topic Sentence: Provide the paragraph’s central idea.
- Supporting Evidence: Include cited quotes, paraphrases, and textual evidence.
- Analysis: Explain the significance of your evidence to your reader.
- Transition: Link each paragraph with few sentences demonstrating how each idea relates to the next, and how they function jointly to back your position.
Example of body paragraphs
Our economy is propelled by companies competing in the selling of products to purchasers determined to surpass each other. The establishments of multibillion-dollar advertisement industries fittingly demonstrate the effect of publicizing the greatest and latest to competitive customers. Almost anything becomes capitalized upon its greatest potential profitability. The impact competitive consumption has over our existence starts before we comprehend the worth of money. The impact competitive consumption has on the seven-year-old convinced he must own the new sports bike because his friend recently got one falls in the same circumstance as the forty-five-year-old woman insistent on procuring a larger TV than her associate.
A phenomenon identified as “snob appeal” pertains to the disposition of individuals with ample means to acquire items for the primary purpose of flaunting them. The application “I Am Rich” developed for iPods and iPhones is the embodiment of such items. This costly application is simply an image similar to a ruby that proclaims the phrase “I am rich” when pressed. The establishment of this application is as disturbing as the fact that various individuals acquired this worthless product. Although sensible individuals would instantly declare the application as wasteful, frivolous and ridiculous, the same ‘sensible individuals’ are disposed to an underlying covetousness of such vast disposable income. This does not assert that all individuals would spend additional income in such ways, however the sentiment towards disbursing without impediments in fascinating nonetheless.
The saying “Knowledge is Power” now is replaced by “Money is Power.” Currently, our education system is fallacious because of its proneness to benefit the wealthy. Current economic conditions have resulted in budget-cuts within public school systems. Students without means of attending private schools are oftentimes contingent to a mediocre education. Even with scholarship availability, a student capable of financing his/her way through school will likely be enrolled in a school because of paid tuition. An existing illustration of such is the legacy and donation system practiced in highly revered private colleges. If two college applicants demonstrate equal standards of academic capability, the alleged legacy student or scholar whose family donates towards the construction of the auditorium will be favored over the scholar needing a scholarship. Effectually, money is the mode by which power and knowledge are acquired.
How to conclude
Lastly, write your conclusion. Typically, your conclusion summarizes your argument and explains your argument’s significance; therefore, nothing new should be stated in your conclusion. Simply reiterate your key points preferably in different terms (your intro and conclusion should not be similar). Explain your argument’s significance. Once again, avoid reiterating your key points; instead, explain your argument’s significance which gives your reader a clearer sense of your argument’s importance.
Provide your reader with an overview of the key ideas you discussed and highlight the advancement of your thoughts, offer next steps and solutions. Do not simply reiterate your thesis but show your synthesis’ significance.
Example of conclusion
American society’s values are befouled with a competitive edge. Undeniably, the social ladder is extensively accepted because of the ideological perspective of upward mobility. Naturally, wealthy individuals start the competition with a first crack. Regrettably, it is becoming virtually impossible for individuals beginning with financial handicaps to catch up.
Residents of a prosperous country have to go no further than a supermarket to get all they need to live a sustainable life. This is undoubtedly a benefit of living in a capitalistic society; however, there is also a flip side to which many scientists and philosophers call attention. This is the ideology of consumerism, which is often embodied in a consumer’s urge to purchase goods in ever-greater amounts, even if those goods are not needed. Consumerism is supported by manufacturers who do their best to sell their products by encouraging people to buy more and more. An example of this is the smartphone market. According to Pulitzer-Prize-winning American author Anna Quindlen, “A person in the United States replaces a cell phone every 16 months, not because the cell phone is old, but because it is oldish” (2008, para. 6). As a result of this consumerism, the more people want and buy, the less they appreciate the value of their possessions.
One of the most powerful forces that contribute to the promotion of consumerism is the omnipresent advertising in capitalistic societies. Advertising is an essential component in the marketing strategy of any product, but at the same time, it affects the human mind. Advertisements portray products as necessary objects that are required to keep one’s social identity secure. Thus, they do not represent wants, but instead create a need for luxury goods. Numerous print and TV advertisements persuade potential customers that it is a Gucci bag, a Calvin Klein dress, or a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes that define their personality and character—not the personal traits they possess.
The youth are probably the most vulnerable target of advertisers. Grown-ups can often distinguish between what they need and do not need; however, young people tend to be less capable of critical thinking. Since their world is created by their aspirations to keep up with modern trends and acquire the most up-to-date gadgets, they are easier to manipulate (Schor, 2004, p.11). Quindlen (2008) provides a perfect example of this manipulation. She confesses that television advertising “made [her] want a Chatty Cathy doll so much as a kid that when [she] saw her under the tree [her] head almost exploded” (para. 3).
On the other hand, advertising is not the only phenomena responsible for the increasing numbers of people obsessed with the need to buy new items. Marketers have begun to compare consumers to roaches, “You spray them and spray them and they get immune after a while” (From Consumerism to Personal Bankruptcy, n.d., para. 10). This refers to how advertisements hardly have an effect on most people anymore. While advertisements are beguiling, if they were that effective, people would be rushing to stores to purchase the advertised products in higher numbers than already present.
Another reason why the idea of permanent acquisition of goods has become dominant in the minds of many people, both adults and adolescents, is the lack of skills necessary to maintain their own resources. Since they did not earn it themselves, the youth are often unaware of the value of money; they demand that their parents satisfy the desires instilled in them by advertising. According to a survey designed to measure children’s knowledge about financial management conducted in the United States by the charity organization Jump$tart Coalition, survey-takers scored an average of 52 percent. This percentage indicates a weak awareness of the usage of money (From Consumerism to Personal Bankruptcy, n.d., para. 16). Even adults would rather spend their disposable income on a new suit or an extravagant holiday than save it. On the other hand, many university and high school students take part-time jobs as graders or professors’ assistants not only to broaden their knowledge, but also to learn to use their hard-earned cash capably. Adults’ earnings have hit an all-time low due to the recession, and many of them are now trying to control their expenditure and pay off their debts. These factors weaken the indirect link between poor financial management and consumerism.
Also worth considering is the yearly reduction in the number of people who want to save their money for the future. If consumers do not save their money, they will obviously use it to buy innumerable useless goods, resulting in consumerism. An article published in the Christian Science Monitor asserts, “Americans’ personal savings fell to -0.5% last year, the first time since the Depression that the savings rate has been negative for a year… it reflects how irresistible consumerism has become in the American psyche” (para. 3).
Another significant factor that plays into consumerism is the way that people’s priorities have recently changed. In the past, consumers were unable to purchase luxuries just because they wanted them. Due to insufficient funds, they had to focus on their needs rather than their wants (From Consumerism to Personal Bankruptcy, n.d., para. 18). Necessity forced them to choose what they needed most; thus, they developed the skills necessary to sort their needs by order of importance. This prevented them from experiencing the additional stress connected with paying off loans and debts. Nowadays, the advent of credit facilities allow consumers to have an almost unlimited possibility for purchasing what they wanted but could not afford. Credit cards allow buyers to have the impression that they have inexhaustible financial resources. The only choice people have to make now is what they want to buy first. This creates the illusion that desirable products are easily accessible; the world is perceived as one gigantic mall. In addition, according to the article “Dhamma in the age of Globalization” (2008), an average modern individual “sees oneself as the center to judge the world, treating others as mere tools to satisfy one’s goals.” This attitude has led to shaping a consumerist attitude towards life with its dire consequences.
The spreading of the consumerist ideology is facilitated by a combination of different factors, among the most significant being an overexposure to advertising, a lack of skills to maintain financial resources, and a global shift in people’s values. Logically, it therefore seems there are at least two ways to prevent, or at least slow down, the further expansion of this thoughtless attitude to life, money, and goods: supplying financial education to explain to various age groups how to plan a budget more effectively—additionally, teaching them to examine the psychological motives of their uncontrolled desire for acquisition, to see what tricks manufacturers and advertisers use to catch their audience’s attention, and to recognize how they also manipulate consumer’s wishes and point of view. The benefits of a critical attitude toward saving more money, therefore reducing stress, should be emphasized. Teaching the youth the value of money, along with the skill to distinguish their needs from their wants, would also contribute to forming a healthy attitude towards goods. A world without consumerism is highly unlikely to occur in the near future, as it is too complex of a issue to eliminate entirely. However, the recession that erupted a few months ago has had a colossal impact on consumer spending. If this trend of reduced spending continues for the next several years, it might reverse consumerism’s materialistic illusion of life.
Quindlen, Anna. (2008). Stuff is Not Salvation. Newsweek.
Schor, Juliet. (2004). Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture. Scribner.
(2013). From Consumerism to Personal Bankruptcy: Its Causes & Its Consequences. Fong and Partners Inc.
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