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Satisfaction Not GuaranteedDilemmas of Progress in Modern Society$
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Peter N. Stearns

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814783627

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814783627.001.0001

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Born to Shop

Born to Shop

Consumerism as the Modern Panacea

(p.213) 9 Born to Shop
Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

Peter N. Stearns

NYU Press

This chapter deals with consumerism, where unfulfilled hopes became almost built into the modern process, which not only illustrates the satisfaction gap but acquires much of the spillover from other modern disappointments. Since its inception, modern consumerism has faced a host of critics, which claim that it is bad for health, encourages distraction and frivolity, among many other reasons. Yet modern consumerism arose out of very real human needs, some of them peculiar to emerging modernity. It retains vitality because of its continuing ability to respond to needs as well—including its contributions to coping with many of the down sides and frustrations of modernity itself. Indeed, consumerism has been asked to accomplish too much, to repair too many deficiencies that need to be addressed more directly in the gaps between modernity and satisfaction.

Keywords:   modern consumerism, satisfaction, modern disappointments, human needs, coping mechanisms

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