In the Defense of Consumerism Versus the Creation of Discontent

Paper Type: 
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1551 Words
Date:  2021-03-13

Consumerism in the United States! Technology advancement has led to the development of numerous innovations such as navigation systems in cars, high-speed internet connectivity, IPad, and many others. Are such advancements making today's contemporary society better off? This is an issue that has raised a heated debate amongst numerous scientists, economists, scholars and even ordinary people in numerous parts of the world. One of the most renowned scholars who have discussed this debate in her publication is Juliet Schor, who argued that the society is not a better off place with these less important and luxurious items in place. Llewellyn Rockwell, on the other hand, stated that the society is indeed a better off place with these items that are considered less important and lavish in place. This essay is a comparison and contrast analysis between Schor's The Creation of Discontent and Rockwell's In Defense of Consumerism publications. The essay cites how well the writers support their position, illustrations of how the writers use facts in their arguments, various styles and evidence used to support their arguments and a statement of the most valid reasoning between the two publications.

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How Well the Writer Supports His Position

In his publication In Defense of Consumerism, Rockwell supports his position by using first-hand observation and statistics in various parts of his article. First-hand observation is illustrated in some of his statements such as most people want heating and cooling systems in the houses and businesses. He also states that we need fresh fish, flowers and bread. Such statements fully support his position in regard to consumerism. The statements also fully convince the readers of the publications on the validity of his arguments. How he references people as we also showcases his statistical universality when making his points. On the other hand, Schor uses terminologies such as competitive spending to characterize the upper and middle classes members of the overspent American population. To justify her points, she uses past historical accounts, such as the past survey reports of the 1990s public economic positions. According to her, in the 1990s, instead of competing with the Joneses, the Americans often found themselves in a competition struggle with the world. In light to the two styles of supporting the validity of their statements, Rockwell's use of first-hand information and statistics is more justifiable than using past experiences to prove a currently existing conundrum.

Illustrations of How the Writers Use Facts in their Arguments

At the end of his publication, Rockwell uses facts to support his arguments. For instance, he states a few facts such as women in the 1900s died approximately at forty-eight years of age. He also states that over the years, the publics life expectancy rate has increased to eighty years for women and seventy-seven years for men. He also states factual statements that explain why the life expectancy rate for women is higher than that of men. By using such factual statements, he makes his publication more convincing to the readers, especially those who are not in favor of the concept of consumerism. Schor also uses statistical illustrations to support her claims in the article. According to the results of her survey on telecommunication workers, only a few persons were satisfied with the level of their remuneration. She also cited the findings of other polls that portrayed that the majority of people in the world spent most of their money on the necessities of life. Such necessities had changed to include the less important and lavish items in the society. All the results used by Schor were based on survey evaluations. Unlike Rockwells data, they were not purely factual statements but merely a projection of the estimated results of a small sample group representing a larger consumer population in the society.

The Use of Stylistics Devices in Supporting the Arguments

Rockwell also uses stylistic devices such as rhetoric questions, tone, and compare/contrast strategies in order to appeal to the audience of his publication. This is because as a consumerism ardent supporter, he illustrates how this concept has been wrongly accused using the stylistic devices. He starts his article with a matter-of-factly tone where he describes people desires this or that to live a comfortable life. Nevertheless, he ends his article with a rather aggressive tone, for instance where he says that to be against consumerism is to be against life itself. His use of compare/contrast style is evidenced where he compares the life expectancy rates of men and women today with that of men and women in the past decades. In the same section, he uses the cause and effect factor to explain the reasons that have contributed to the changes in life expectancy levels in the society. Schor's tone in her publication appeals to ethos aspect of stylistic writing. This means that the tone appeals to the readers emotions in an effort to connect with them emotionally and convince them about the validity of her arguments. Tone variation in the not offered a keen interest in the publication, although it has an effect on capturing a significant level of the readers attention. For this reason, Rockwell's enhanced use of stylistic devices goes a long way in supporting his claims unlike that evidenced in Schor's publication.

The Use of Examples Discussion in the Two Publications

The use of examples in the two publications is aimed at achieving different objectives. Rockwell uses examples to support the concept of consumerism while Schor uses examples to illustrate how the development of discontentment results into suffering by the society members. Rockwell's use of examples when supporting the concept of consumerism is well showcased in the instance where he states that the concept has attained an unfair treatment. This is in it being treated as a detrimental factor to the economic improvement of the society. In this context, he uses an example of how people will settle for the best things while other will settle for the good things in life. This example further convinces the readers that a person should have the freedom to buy what is necessary for them. On the other hand, Schors also uses examples when arguing that the concept of consumerism heightens the level of ignorance in the society.

Schor believes that the development of the concept affects the society members happiness. She uses the U.S. as an example where she states that most people in the nation were happy in 1957 compared to their happiness level between 1970 and 1978. This is after the emergence of the concept of consumerism. Schor states that the consumers' merry go round that the society members use in the pursuit of material possession do not increase happiness (Schor 622). She argues that the discontent with the materials possession makes people obsessive in gathering more and more material possessions. In light of the above analysis, both authors use examples to support their claims. Nevertheless, Rockwells examples are aimed at supporting the theme of consumerism while Schor's examples are aimed at discouraging the concept by illustrating the negative effects of discontent creation.

Rockwells Reasoning is Valid

The concept of consumerism is not evil as portrayed by the media and other authors such as Schor. This is because Rockwell uses logic reasoning when arguing that the market corrects itself through individuals working hard to maximize their well-being. Rockwell's argument is true that there is nothing immoral in working hard in an effort to seek comfort. According to Schor, consumerism may distract people for attaining greater goals. Nevertheless, it is not logical to say that the greater goals are achievable or universal to everyone in the society. Yet, the pursuit of a good financial position for consumerism reasons is universal to all people.

Schor and other anti-consumerists in the society argue that the concept blinds people to other fellow persons in the society. According to them, persons become less empathetic to the plight of others in the society. Although this might be true, Rockwells reasoning is more valid in that it would be better to struggle for financial gain with an aim of living a better life through consumerism. Although Schor's claim in this context may be plausible, it also fails in that feeling sympathetic to others without offering them any form of physical assistance may be of little use. In addition, such physical assistance would require money to acquire help in the form of goods and services. Since money is a scarce resource, working hard for financial gain to fulfill personal consumerism needs is justifiable.


In conclusion, Rockwell's arguments in his article supporting consumerism are more plausible compared to the arguments made by Schor in her article discussing the creation of a discontent. According to Rockwell, there is nothing wrong with working hard to attain financial gains to facilitate consumerism. Rockwell supports his arguments well by using facts, stylistic devices, first-hand observation, and statistics. These aspects make his arguments strong and discursively superior to Schor's claims in her publication. Rockwell's article stays on target, uses valid reasoning in all parts of the publication, and it is exhaustive of the list of things that have improved the current society. For this reason, the essay appears to be more persuasive than Schors essay, in the minds of the readers. On the other hand, Schor's article appears to go astray when it comes to discussing such specific qualities.

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In the Defense of Consumerism Versus the Creation of Discontent. (2021, Mar 13). Retrieved from

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