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Research Essay Question Below is a passage from Consumer Society: Critical Issues and Environmental Consequences (Barry Smart (2010), pp.140-41): All manner of explanations have been advanced to account for people’s seemingly inexhaustible propensity to consume, capacity to spend, spend, and spend again, to work longer hours to earn more, to use credit and run up debt, and willingness to withdraw equity from their homes in order to participate in ‘consumer society’, to fund the purchase of more and more consumer goods and additional services. If pleasure and enjoyment, both anticipated and experienced, are part of the story it is worth remembering that some of the goods selected for purchase are never used and a significant proportion end up being thrown away, including substantial quantities of edible foods, with one estimate from a UK report suggesting avoidable food waste over the course of a year amounted to 4.1 million tons. The pleasurable experience that is anticipated to be a corollary of participation in consumerism, the status associated with being seen to own a particular commodity or being able to enjoy a specific service, and the satisfaction that may be derived from appearing to emulate others in one’s circle of friends and acquaintances – ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ or, increasingly, aspiring to appear like more distant iconic celebrity figures from the worlds of sport and entertainment, whose consumer lifestyles attract so much attention and publicity in the media – undoubtedly have contributed to people’s seemingly inexhaustible propensity to engage in consumer activity, but such experiences, associations, and aspirations themselves have been formed through processes of transformation that have provided the ‘life-blood of the consumer society’. Do you think whether contemporary trademark protection has played any role in inducing the kind of consumerism that the above passage describes?


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