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Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole Hardcover – March 19, 2007

3.2 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Barber returns to the clashing models of civilization of his earlier Jihad vs. McWorld, focusing this time on the expanding global culture of market forces he claims will destory not only democracy but even capitalism, if left unchecked. He warns of a totalitarian "ethos of induced childishness" that not only seeks to turn the young into aggressive consumers but to arrest the psychological development of adults as well, "freeing" them to indulge in puerile and narcissistic purchases based on "stupid" brand loyalties. The increasing drive toward privatization compounds the problem, generating a "civic schizophrenia" where everybody wants service but nobody wants to serve. His complaint is so broad that it occasionally edges into crankiness, as he blames infantilization for ruining everything from Hollywood movies to NBA basketball; even other liberal cultural commentators, especially Steven Johnson (Everything Bad Is Good for You), come in for much criticism. Barber recognizes that the "Jihadist" rejection of consumer culture is equally undemocratic, but still believes the system can be changed from within, citing the corporate responsibility movement and activist boycotts. His dense analysis can be a tough slog in spots, but the provocative attacks on capitalism's excesses will resonate with many. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Barber, the Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society at the University of Maryland, has devoted much of his life to the study of the effects of the consumer market on individuals and society as a whole. His hypothesis that consumer culture has turned adult citizens into children by catering to the lowest common denominator rings only too true, even if the sheer density and obsequiousness of this examination are likely to turn off much of the popular readership. Therein lies the conundrum of reviewing this impressive piece of work, wherein Barber proves his theory that the market imperative has conditioned us to lap up the easy offerings and reject hard, complicated works. This lifelong study of the effects of capitalism and privatization reveals a pervasiveness of branding and homogenization from which there is seemingly no turning back. With the call to arms of grassroots resistance, he does offer a glimmer of hope; despite the heavy weight, Barber's work deserves and surely will find its audience. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton; 1 edition (March 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393049612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393049619
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #856,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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on August 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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on June 5, 2007
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