Affluenza Video

Consider:

  • In 1958, only 4 percent of American homes had dishwashers. Now more than half do.
  • Less than 1 percent had color televisions. Now 97 percent do. In addition, in the '50s there were no microwave ovens, VCRs, or personal computers.
  • Today, many new homes have three-car garages and are nearly 900 square feet (the same as an entire house in the 1950s).
  • Although Americans had fewer material goods, the number of Americans who say they are very happy peaked back in 1957.
  • Seventy percent of Americans visit malls each week, more than attend churches or synagogues.
  • On average, Americans shop six hours a week and spend only 40 minutes playing with their children.

Questions:

  1. How do you differentiate between what you "want" and what you "need?"
  2. How has having greater or fewer material goods has affected your family?

Consider:

  • By the age of 20, the average American has seen some one million commercial messages.
  • Advertising accounts for 2/3 of the space in newspapers, and 40 percent of our mail.
  • The average American spends one year of their lives watching TV commercials.
  • Children are the fastest growing segment of the consumer market. In 1995 alone, companies spent $1 billion marketing their products to young people.

Questions:

  1. Are commercials always ethical? How can they be unethical?
  2. How are commercials changing who we are?

Consider:

Most people think advertising is about selling products. In truth, advertising is about selling audiences to the advertiser, not selling products to the buyer.

  1. What does this mean?
  2. Who are the participants in this process?
  3. What is the motivation of each participant?
  4. Is this process still the same in a post TV world?

Consider:

  • The gap between rich and poor Americans is now the widest of any industrial nation.
  • One-fifth of the world's population lives in dire poverty, slowly dying of hunger and disease. Millions of others desperately need more material goods. Yet, were they to consume as Americans do, the result would be an environmental disaster.
  1. Is there and ethical issue here?
  2. Can you come up with a new transforming initiative for this situation?

Consider:

  • At one time most humans literally had to work all day just to make survival possible
  • The thought was that labor saving devices would free us from slavery to hard work, so we would only work 14 hours a week, and spend the rest of our time pursuing non-commercial goals (music, art, sports, reflection, spiritual growth, family, etc).
  • Instead we continue to work at the same pace, our goal is largely to buy more stuff.

  1. Does this increase our happiness? Our quality of life?
  2. again, is there a possible new transforming initiative for this situation?
Americans throw away 7 million cars a year, 2 million plastic bottles every hour and enough aluminum cans annually to make 6,000 DC-10 airliners.
Topic revision: r1 - 2014-04-14 - JimSkon
 
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platformCopyright &© by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback