We are taught to marvel at the choices open to the consumer in modern society. However, the system is set up to make it difficult for us to not be consumers.
Sociologist Richard Stivers comments that “There is nothing voluntary about consumption in modern societies. Advertising provides the commands to consume under the guise of the freedom to achieve material well-being. Buy; Consume; Enjoy. There is freedom of choice about what to consume, but only within the larger demand that we approach life exclusively as consumers” (Richard Stivers, The Culture of Cynicism: American Morality in Decline, Blackwell, Cambridge, Mass., 1994, p.132).