The Roots of Consumer Society

The Roots of Consumer Society
“Such abundance is in itself good and necessary for society to function properly.”

There is nothing wrong with the fact that today’s consumer society provides abundant goods for everyone. Such abundance is in itself good and necessary for society to function properly.

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What can be criticized are the philosophical roots of consumer society. Notre Dame’s Prof. Brad Gregory traces it to a widely embraced Romantic and post-Romantic conception of the individual. The modern consumer came to see himself not as “an embodied soul called by God to flourish in a family within a community through the exercise of the virtues, but an emotive ‘self’ that constructs itself as it pleases in the self-chosen relationships it makes and breaks, by exercising its right to do so through the desire for and acquisition of material things and their contribution to its self-construction of identity” (Brad S. Gregory, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2012, p. 292).

In other words, consumption became a self-absorbing activity that puts man at the center of everything and thus prepares the way for a secular society without official recognition of the Creator.

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