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A Debtor WorldInterdisciplinary Perspectives on Debt$
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Ralph Brubaker, Robert M. Lawless, and Charles J. Tabb

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199873722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199873722.001.0001

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“Hyperconsumption” and “Hyperdebt”: A “Hypercritical” Analysis

“Hyperconsumption” and “Hyperdebt”: A “Hypercritical” Analysis

(p.60) 3 “Hyperconsumption” and “Hyperdebt”: A “Hypercritical” Analysis
A Debtor World

George Ritzer

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the role played by consumer society and consumer culture in the growth of the debt problem. The fundamental argument is based on the fact that American society, specifically its economy, underwent a change from a society dominated by production to one in which consumption rivaled, or exceeded, production in importance. This shift to consumption—or “hyper” consumption—is not fueled solely by the foibles of individual consumers themselves. Industry and government alike have manipulated consumers to the end of promoting consumption, and “cathedrals of consumption” (e.g., casinos, shopping malls, and theme parks) sprang up after World War II and lured consumers into consuming what they did not even realize they needed—because in fact they did not. Finally, the chapter explores contexts for “hyper” developments, namely, capitalism, the manipulation of time and space in contemporary capitalism, and globalization.

Keywords:   consumption, consumer society, consumer culture, hyperconsumption, debt, capitalism, globalization

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