Capitalism and Consumerism Effects on the Division of Social Classes

February 11, 2019 by Essay Writer

CaThe illusion that what we see in advertisements and commercials is what our lives can be like if we buy a certain product has been forcefully drilled into our minds by large corporations. In the novel Feed, M.T. Anderson illustrates his opinion on capitalism being beneficial for society because you have the freedom to own your own business and buy enhancements for your life. He also demonstrates that consumerism is deadly towards society because it tricks people into believing that their lives will magically be enhanced by buying an advertised product. He is able to strategically make his point through the character Violet who opens the eyes of Titus and shows him how they are being tricked by the power of consumerism, and highlighting the division among social classes.

Violet and Titus live in an imagined futuristic world, seeming perfect on the outside based on the abundance of material things, but is grim and dark underneath the surface. Everyone in their world has a feed hooked up at birth which gives them access to information, chat, music and TV shows. The feed causes them to constantly be bombarded by advertisements, encouraging them to constantly shop, making the feed the symbol of consumerism. Through the feed, Anderson is able to demonstrate how consumerism is not beneficial toward society, because it is telling the people how they should spend their money and how to spend their time, rather than giving them an opportunity to make something of themselves. The people become “interested only in the consumption of [their] products. [They] have no interest in how they are produced, or what happens to them once we discard them, once [they] throw them away.” To truly be interested in an item is to show interest in the background information, and see what goes into making it into this product you enjoy. But, when you lack interest in the background information, that’s a sign that the only reason why you are buying this product is to keep up with trends that people are feeding you. It leads to an unhealthy society, where people buy products, but don’t know why, and aren’t satisfied with their purchase but rather looking forward to the next purchase they make.

Anderson uses Violet as the symbol of capitalism, who is trying to test the feed’s system and prove to her peers that a life led by consumerism is not healthy or satisfying. Seen as an outsider, Violet seeks her happiness by trying things that aren’t being sent to her by the feed, where everyone else is blindly doing what the feed is telling them to do. Rather than constantly purchasing new items, or changing her look like the other kids, Violet is able to explore her own interests because she doesn’t listen to what the feed is telling her. Capitalism allows us to to make our own decisions and make something of ourselves, to choose what we spend our money on, and how we spend our lives. It’s what our country was founded on, giving people the freedom of choice, but consumerism has the power to change the hard work of those before us, and change our world into something similar to Anderson’s imagined futuristic world. And, though some people may be enticed by the idea of having access to everything at your fingertips, it creates many problems between social classes, by not giving everyone equal opportunities, compared to how our system is set up now. Since Violet’s family wasn’t as rich as others, she did not receive the feed until she was older than the ideal age, and it caused some probably, eventually resulting in it destroying her. Because she received the feed much later than other people, she was looked at as an outsider for having her own interests, and not being able to access all the things that her peers were blindly buying into.

In a society led by consumerism, the division of social classes is inevitable, because not everyone can afford the items being advertised, which highlights the division even more. It prevents people from having equal chances of succeeding in the things that they dream of doing, which gives the poor no hope for becoming successful, and doesn’t allow the rich to make their own choices of live the way they choose. The main point that M. T. Anderson is trying to convey by giving us his opinion of consumerism and capitalism, is that by using the system demonstrated in Feed, is that it creates a divide between the rich and poor societies. The rich are able to afford the feed for their children and hook them up when they are infants, but the poor are not able to do so. Violet showed us that if you do not hook it up as a child, it will not work correctly, causing society to become divided and only giving the rich a chance to be successful.

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