“In Defense of Consumerism” essay

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Consumerism is something we wrestle with every day, but without it, our industrial society would amount to zero, thus making consumerism unavoidable in today’s society.

All through his essay “In Defense of Consumerism”, Llewellyn Rockwell defends consumerism showing how it has wrongfully been portrayed as a crime that is wiping out our community today. Currently, consumerism is depicted as a negative aspect of purchasing behavior, which eventually leads to acquisitiveness. Most of these perspectives can be scrutinized as being subjective in that they put their focus on the unessential products and the debts created. On the other hand, they fail to recognize the positive attributes of consumerism, like the one Llewellyn Rockwell does.  He sites that the only way we can comprehend what we want like faster internet, fresh flowers and fish, new cars and latest fashion, is through the market economy. The market economy, according to Rockwell, is billions of people innovating and cooperating to make our lives better.

As consumers, we are meant to “consume” and, therefore, we purchase goods and services with our resources to make our living conditions better. Therefore, we should not be judged as responsible for this phenomenon. He argues that no one can identify a demand from a want. Everyone should have the right to choose and buy what they deem fit. Thus, even the rich and powerful have the right to purchase and consume items that others may perceive as superfluous or as “luxury goods”. Currently, consumption to some people gets referred as aesthetically displeasing. The proponents of this approach love poverty and abhor the excesses. Consumerism creates choice ranging from those who prefer dentistry to those who pull out their own teeth and those who prefer indoor plumbing to outhouses. It is everyone's right to have a personal choice on how to live. He concludes by saying those who are against commerce attack life itself.

Chairperson of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, supporter of the Austrian school of economics, political commentator, American libertarian and activist; these are all titles held by Llewellyn Harrison Rockwell, Jr. commonly known as Lew Rockwell. In 1981, Margit, Ludwig von Mises's widow, allowed Rockwell to develop the Ludwig von Mises's Institute. It went online in 1995, largely due to the efforts of Rockwell. Mises.org is today a remarkably stable and reliable work tool. Rockwell has authored numerous articles and biographies in different fields. All this makes Lew Rockwell a supremely knowledgeable author in a vast array of fields thus making him the ideal author of the article defending consumerism.

In the article “In Defense of Consumerism”, the author makes use of first-hand observations and makes use of statistics in a few sections of his article. First-hand observation can be seen when the author says how “most people want heating and cooling in the houses and businesses. We need more varieties of wine, toothpastes, cleaning products and razors. If anything in our homes is broken then, we all need materials to repair it. We need fresh fish, flowers and bread. We also require new cars with additional features and the most recent styles from all over the globe.” The author through general observation, as he uses words such as “everyone” and “we all”, collects these evidence. He does not specifically state whom he is talking about. The evidence collected in this technique is convincing enough to the reader. This is because the items stated throughout the article apply to all, and are universal. This is such as bread, repairs, fashion and many more.

Lew Rockwell also uses some facts towards the end of the article; he states a few facts like how women in the 1900s died approximately at 48 years and how the life expectancy has risen to about 80 for women and 77 for men. He also states the reasons why life expectancy is higher for women than for men. By using these facts, Rockwell makes the article more convincing to his audience. In my opinion, his tone appeals to all audiences especially those who are not in favor of consumerism.

The author of the article “In Defense of Consumerism” makes use of stylistic devices such as tone, compare/contrast and rhetoric questions to appeal to his audience. As an activist, Rockwell is extraordinarily passionate about consumerism and how it has been wrongfully accused. In the beginning, he uses a matter-of-factly tone to show how everyone wants this or others to live comfortably. This is such as bread milk, repairs, and higher speed internet and so on. In the end, his tone changes to an aggressive tone stating, “To be against commerce is to be against life itself”. Rockwell makes use of compare /contrast as a stylistic device when he compares how the life expectancy rate has increased in the last decades. He also compares the life expectancy for women now, which is 80 years and for men, which is 77 years. In this same paragraph, he uses cause/effect to explain why the expectancy rate for women is higher than that of men. In his essay “In Defense of Consumerism,” Llewellyn Rockwell makes a considerable number of compelling points on logos, pathos and ethos. He makes use of these three techniques to uphold consumerism to his audience.

I am beginning to think that the nickname "consumerism" is just another word for liberty in the marketplace. Consumerism is something we wrestle with every day, but without it, our industrial society would amount to nothing, thus making consumerism a necessary evil in today’s society. Consumerism may be viewed by many as a way to support the rich, powerful and elitist in their superfluous demand. However, it gives us all the ability to choose; the right that everybody should have.

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