What’s the Consequence of all that Shopping?

November 28th, 2012

This week on Business Matters, we tackle the consumer culture.  We learn that advertising in the early 21st century isn’t so different from advertising in the early 20th century.  All of it is designed to make us feel like we need something outside ourselves to make us feel better.  And yet, after over a hundred years of such advice, we’re clearly no happier, nor any more successful at the things that really matter to us.  Instead, advertising promotes a frenetic and anxious way of life that keeps us ever off-balance, attempting to manage our identities with products and services.

Complicit in this promotion are the media ad-buyers, who filter the messages sent to consumers.  Companies like Adbusters, calling for a cultural shift as a solution to both personal malaise and climate change, are consistently rejected when presenting their ads to media outlets.

We examine the question, “What is the true cost of unconscious spending?” from a variety of angles.  The answers point to suggested solutions for both individual and collective action.

Listen to this program;| Download MP3 [audio: http://businessmatters.net/episodes/11.28.2012BM59min.mp3]

T.J. Jackson Lears, Professor, Author

T.J. Jackson Lears is the Board of Governors Professor of History at Rutgers University and the editor of Raritan: A Quarterly Review.  He is the author of Fables of Abundance: a Cultural History of Advertising in America, for which he won the Los Angeles Times Book Award in History, and No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920, for which he was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent book is Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America: 1877-1920.  Find out more about Dr. Lears at http://history.rutgers.edu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=187&Itemid=140

Listen to this interview;| Download MP3 [audio: http://businessmatters.net/episodes/11.28.2012BMSec1.mp3]

Kalle Lasn, Filmaker, Author, Co-Founder of Adbusters Media Foundation

An Estonian-Canadian documentary film producer, Lasn co-founded Adbusters Media Foundation and Adbusters Magazine in the late 1980s.  His books include Culture Jam: How to Reverse America’s Suicidal Consumer-Binge and Why We Must, Design Anarchy, and the soon-to-be-released Occupy Econ 101.  To learn more about Adbusters and Kalle Lasn, go to https://www.adbusters.org 


Listen to this interview;| Download MP3 [audio: http://businessmatters.net/episodes/11.28.2012BMSec2.mp3]
Reverend Billy of The Church of Stop Shopping

Bill Talen, actor and environmentalist, created Reverend Billy in the early 1990s, premiering in New York at Times Square’s Disney Store.  Reverend Billy Stop Shopping Gospel Choir are described as a “radical performance community” with 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands.  Bill Talen has published two books: What Should I Do If Reverend Billy is In My Store and What Would Jesus Buy?.  A documentary film about the group, What Would Jesus Buy?, was produced by Morgan Spurlock.  Reverend Billy is currently producing weekly messages, and you can find these, along with more information about Bill Talen, at www.revbilly.com.

Listen to this interview;| Download MP3 [audio: http://businessmatters.net/episodes/11.28.2012BMSec3.mp3]
Music on today’s program was provided by the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir.

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