Consumerism isn’t a sellout – if capitalism works for all

Love? Love fades away. But things? Things are forever.” So says Tom, played by Aziz Ansari, in a scene from Parks and Recreation. The phrase has become a meme, a tongue-in-cheek defense of modern materialism.

The essential thinginess of capitalism has been one of its most-criticized features. Materialism, and specifically consumerism, are almost always used as pejorative terms. Nostalgic conservatives, egalitarian progressives and environmentalists loudly agree on at least one thing: we are just buying too much stuff.

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