Consumerism Critique in the 1950s-70s
During the 1950s, the US experienced increasing attention to the concept of consumerism and protectionism. Because of the growing consumerisms, critics emerged to counter the concept. The period during the 1950s through 60s saw the increased critique of the mass society and consumerism, arguing that it was entirely stultifying, corrosive, with a false sense of establishing consumer sovereignty. Many of those opposed to consumerism suggested an alternative approach to consumerism, promoting a new age of regulation of the consumer economy. The period led to the emergence of the counterculture that focused on free choice that deviated from materialism and consumerism. Proponents of this practice argued that the mass conceptualization of consumer sovereignty was insufficient to grant individuals the opportunity for free choice.
There has been a systematic shift toward an emphasis on deregulation, limited government intervention, and promotion of property and individual rights. The United States of America has experienced a massive increase in the rights movement. The period beginning from the early 1960s created a new sense of the need for freedom of individuals in absolute terms. The hard economic times of the moment strengthened the rising need for protectionist approaches to addressing issues affecting consumers.
The rise in consumer consciousness around the early 1970s led to a call for environmentalism. During this period, people felt that industries were causing multiple negative effects on the lives of the US population through massive destruction of the ecosystem.
Although the government had policies that stood to measure and support environmentalism, many people felt that stringent measures were needed to bring sanity back in the manufacturing sector. This situation led to the formation of groups that proposed increased regulation from both the private and public sectors. During the 1970s, a collective action to protect children against destructive advertisements yielded an elimination of TV advertisements. The government stepped up its regulatory forces by implementing the ethics code and dramatic reduction of time on children’s shows.
The shift from consumerism toward a new sense of confined vision and counterculture lifestyle ushered in the growth of business regulation that aimed at guarding consumer exploitation. The movement from consumer-driven mechanisms toward the call for the creation of consumer departments saw a weakening sense of mass consumerism during the late 1960s. Contrary to the consumerism of the 1960s, the 1970s saw the emergence of conservative consumerism that favored self-exploration and self-realization. Thus, the overall effect was a decline of concepts and ideas of collective mass action, new democracy, and egalitarianism.