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Consumerism & Commercialism

Studies have shown that modern culture - with its emphasis on acquisition of material things - has actually made us less happy than we were in times of far less abundance. Now corporations are slipping their consumption-heavy messages into every aspect of life, even textbooks in public schools. The result is a childhood obesity crisis, skyrocketing consumer debt, and the privatization of nearly every aspect of public life.


News Articles

US: Industry Takes Aim at Plan to Create Financial Protection Agency
by Brady DennisWashington Post
July 7th, 2009
Business and trade-group lobbyists are beating a path for the first major battle over the Obama administration's efforts to overhaul the financial regulatory system. Recent discussions have involved the American Bankers Association, National Auto Dealers Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mortgage Bankers Association and other lobbyists.

US: Activist Financier 'Terrorizes' Bankers in Foreclosure Fight
by James R. HagertyWall Street Journal
May 20th, 2009
A nonprofit organization, Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, or NACA, has emerged as one of the loudest scourges of the banking industry in the post-bubble economy. Though some bankers privately deplore his tactics, NACA's Bruce Marks is a growing influence in the lending industry and the effort to curb foreclosures.

US: Debt Settlers Offer Promises but Little Help
by David StreitfeldNew York Times
April 19th, 2009
With the economy on the ropes, hundreds of thousands of consumers are turning to “debt settlement” companies like Credit Solutions to escape a crushing pile of bills. State attorneys general are being flooded with complaints about settlement companies and other forms of debt relief.

WORLD: The Jewel Trade's Fading Luster
by V. Dion Haynes and Rama LakshmiWashington Post
March 28th, 2009
The drop in U.S. demand for high-end jewelry in a slumping economy is having ripple effects around the globe as stores close, workers are laid off in mass in the diamond-polishing factories of Gujarat, and countries like Botswana experience a dramatic drop in diamond revenue.

US: Mr. Whipple Left It Out: Soft Is Rough on Forests
by Leslie KaufmanNew York Times
February 25th, 2009
The U.S. obsession with soft toilet paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra. But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada.