The All-Consuming Nation by Mark H. Lytle
In his 1958 "kitchen debate" with Nikita Khrushchev, Richard Nixon argued that the freedom to consume defined the American way of life. High wages, full employment, new technologies, and a rapid growth in population ushered in a golden age of economic growth. By the end of the twentieth century, consumerism triumphed over communism, socialism, and all other isms seeking to win hearts and minds around the world. Advertising, popular culture, and mass media persuaded Americans that shopping was both spiritually fulfilling and a patriotic virtue. The All-Consuming Nation also examines how planners failed to take into account the environmental costs, as early warning signs provided evidence that all was not well. The All-Consuming Nation investigates the environmental and sociocultural costs of the consumer capitalism framework set in place in the 20th century, shedding light on the consequences of a national identity forged through mass consumption.