Consumer Capitalism in White Noise by Don DeLillo
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Consumer capitalism is buying expensive things because it matches the image you are portraying. Consumer capitalism helps capitalist gain more profit, profit they don’t deserve. Capitalism is a selfish act to which businessmen attends too. Businessmen constrict everything a customer has in order to gain more. They want to gain more out of life without moving a finger, they’ll pay for labor, raw materials and the whatnots, and gain more than have the total of what he paid for labor, raw material, etc. combined. While consumers who want to be cool purchase their products, products they don’t really need, or products that they usually can get less with other labels.
People are often blinded by who endorses the products and do not pay attention on what the product’s purpose is. With consumer capitalism, it multiplies the need of things people don’t really need and increases the demand, with the products increase in demand, capitalist increases the products cost with out changing the quality of the product and the wages of their workers, creating an imbalance in economy, “multiplicity and intensity of wants that are the spur to the standard of living in the United States”(Lebow 1955).
Why do the businessmen who practiced capitalism to deserve more than half of the earnings customers pay to buy a product and do they deserve to gain more out of the profit just because they founded the materials and hired the labor workers? It is clearly an injustice that workers pour out their strengths everyday at work and receive a minimum wage salary, while businessmen get to have more than half of the profit sitting on a chair.
Consumer capitalist grants this form of living because consumers still buy products that are sold buy capitalist. Instead of helping create a balance in the economy, consumer capitalist adds to the imbalance made by capitalist to the economy just so they can continue living and continue on with the form of living they have engaged themselves into, “we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption” (Lebow 1955).
Consumer Capitalism in White Noise by Don DeLillo
Consumer capitalism can be seen in the characters of Don DeLillo’s White Noise, like Murray, Jack Gladney thinks that he only wears corduroy jacket and smokes from a pipe to demonstrate his intelligence or for people to see how intelligent he is, “raised one foot behind him, reached back to knock some ashes from his pipe” (DeLillo 214). Murray feels pressured that people will not perceive his the way he wants people to perceive him; he wants people to know that he is intelligent just by looking at him, “greater the pressures upon the individual to conform to safe and accepted social standards” (Lebow 1955).
Denise, the daughter of Jack who had her mother hobbit of buying products that are healthy, “because she thinks if she keeps buying it, she’ll have to eat it just to get rid of it”(DeLillo 7), her ideology of buying food so that she will be forced to eat healthy and end up wasting the food and money, “but she never eats it” (DeLillo 7).
Another example of consumer capitalism is the pill that Babette, she believes that when she takes the pill she will be happy, “To keep you animated, vital and happy” (DeLillo 140). In believing in the pill she buys it or at least exchanges sex just to get the pill is a form of excessive buying, she doesn’t really need it but because she thinks she needs it, she becomes dependent to the pill.
In the novel, there is even a department dedicated for pop culture, pop cultures is the best example of consumer capitalism. Pop culture products are items people don’t necessarily that people still purchase. Pop culture contributes to the imbalance of economy around the world, people can’t see the fact that the more they want things in life, the more they need things in life, new clothes, new cell phone, and etc. the more they contribute to imbalance set by the capitalist. Murray even want to create a department for Elvis, a pop culture icon, much like what Jack Gladney has done with Hitler.
As long as there are people who are being feed by capitalist, there will always be consumer capitalism. The need to have more does not end, no one is contented and people always want more, that ideology of wanting things makes capitalism grow and continue to create imbalance in the economy. And if capitalism remained, the imbalance in economy remains, that imbalance will destroy everything every man has worked for.
In the situation where Babette became addicted to the pill Dylar given by Mr. Gray in exchange for intercourse, Mr. Gray can be compared to capitalism and Babette can be compared to a consumer capitalist, the dependency of Babette to the pill can be compared to the loyalty of consumers to capitalism. As long as the ideology of Babette do not change, Mr. Gray can keep selling the pills to her. Buying expensive excessive products from capitalist influences them to continue what they are doing and as long as the consumers buy the products from capitalist the more the inflation of demand will be.
Capitalism is a gateway to selfishness and injustice, if people continue on their ways of wanting things, the balance will never return. As people continue with the ideology they have of buying products just for the sake of having the product or buying expensive labeled products when they can buy the same product with the same quality cheaper in non labeled products, the more the economy will suffer and the more it will create imbalances in economy, “As we examine the concept of consumer loyalty, we see that the whole problem of molding the American mind is involved here” (Lebow 1955).
Lebow, Victor. (1955). The Real Meaning of Consumer Demand in Price Competition in 1955.
DeLillo, Don. (1984). Whiet Noise. New York: Viking Penguin