chapter  6
39 Pages

The Dawn of Affluent Societies

The growth of individualism and the significant advance in knowledgeability in modern society, as well as the moralization of the markets in its wake, provide one of the significant cultural counterparts for the rise of affluence. The intensive debate about the virtues of material abundance of western societies mutated into theories of affluent societies or mass consumption societies, surrounded and haunted by hidden persuaders. The theory of the mass society represents a fundamental critique of forms of life in mass societies. The consumer society represents a fundamental but clearly very alienating mutation in the ecology of the human species. The cultural and political transformations that may be observed in these societies manifest themselves foremost in a decline of the authority of religion and the state, a persistence of individualism, and an emphasis on noneconomic values; or as a shift from scarcity values to security values, as well as a rejection of all forms of authority.