Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase commodity goods in ever greater amounts. Many agree that it has most certainly become the spirit, or zeitgeist, of our age. Popular music has the capacity to reveal this. Both, “She’s leaving home” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (1967) and “Don’t Stop” critique consumerism and consumerist society. “She’s leaving home” concentrates on attitudes to consumerism in the late 60’s, while “Don’t Stop” covers more modern aspects.

To fully understand consumerism, we first need to explore why we consume. It is in human nature to be acquisitive, to gather and store supplies for the future. There have been many attempts to pinpoint an exact date of its origin, but most agree that, for the western world, a great turn in consumerism arrived just before the Industrial Revolution. Agricultural commodities, essential consumer goods, and commercial activities had developed to an extent, but members of the working classes worked long hours for low wages, which left little time or money for consumerist activities.
Pioneers in consumerist culture like Henry Ford concluded that mass production would inevitably lead to mass consumption. Frederick Winslow Taylor brought this theory to other industries. This jumpstarted mass productivity and availability of goods previously unattainable by the lower classes. So began the era of mass consumption.
Body 2: “She’s Leaving Home”
“She’s leaving home by the Beatles, written in 1967, was composed in a time of political and social upheaval as the conservative consumer values of the 1950’s gave way to the “peace” and “free love” of the hippy era. The song reveals how entrenched consumerism is through the dilemma of a young girl who rejects her parents’ values as shallow and meaningless. The conflict of their respective values in the song is portrayed through a dual narrative structure. The parents’ first person point...