This chapter is about expenditure shifts with time especially in America. This chapter talks about the changes that have taken place in consumer expenditure over time and some of the factors that causes influence or affect those changes. In this chapter we find that as technology becomes sophisticated so does spending habits of people. Among the factors that the chapter focuses on as affecting expenditure includes neighbors, media, friends and work colleagues.
Thedominant purpose of this chapter is to explain that people spend on what they don’t actually need. It also emphasizes on the point that no matter what people actually have, they are never contented and always want more. With rise in income therefore people will try to live as those they perceive as earning the same figure as them. Spending habits have also changed across the years with examples given of the year 1970s to 1990s. This habits have changed the definition of some words like necessity in America as people have different opinions as to what a necessity is. The chapter has explained this changes by the use of expenditure tables which are self-explanatory. Some people regard air conditioner as a necessity while to others it’s not depending on their status.
This chapter also explains why Americans are not good at saving. At this competition rate and the desire to ‘make it’as the chapter puts it, how could they? This has also led to increased percentage of household debts. I think this chapter has accomplished a lot as far as consumerism is concern in today’s society. It talks about technology which today is on a whole new level and media which virtually controls the young generation of today.
In conclusion you would not understand downshifters or their reasons for doing so unless you read this chapter and understand that to some people, there are more important things than working to get money to acquire properties they could live without. I would highly recommend this chapter for anyone with the desire to learn the consumerism culture of Americans.