The First Industrial Revolution : The New Era Of Mass Consumption Essay

The First Industrial Revolution : The New Era Of Mass Consumption Essay

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In the latter half of the 19th century, the Second Industrial Revolution produced new engineering and science-based technology, such as railroads, petroleum, and the assembly line, which allowed large corporations to produce, and export, enormous quantities of goods at a faster rate than before. While transforming the American economy for the better, these new inventions drastically changed our society as massive quantities of low cost products became accessible to all, and coupled with a rapid growing population, it ushered in a new era of Mass Consumption. This era essentially changed the United States from a work-based society to a consumer society as people raised the question ‘Why have the old model?’. Soon enough this philosophy led people to become accustomed to the fact that having the latest model of the newest product was a conventional way of living, which in turn allowed consumption to grow rapidly. As consumption continued to grow well after the Industrial Revolution, and into modern day America, the massive corporations that sustained mass consumption decided to save money by moving their manufacturing plants to third world countries due to the lure of cheap labor. By moving manufacturing plants to countries where labor laws are near non-existent, large corporations such as Wal-Mart, Nike, Disney, and H&M, have relied heavily on sweatshop and child labor to mass produce cheap materials for Americans. As expected, the practice of outsourcing jobs to sweatshop factories has become a huge controversy in modern day America, as it is grossly inhumane, which leads to activists such as journalist Ed Finn to fight the good fight. In his article Harnessing Our Power As Consumers: Cost of Boycotting Sweatshop Goods Offset by t...


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...s how they should operate their developing-country factories. Blind to the fact that their insufficient boycotts are in support of crushing opportunities for others, activists don’t seem to realize that:
All of those emerging-market multinationals that South Korea and China are sending abroad have operations in the United States, too. Foxconn has a factory in Indiana. It is not a sweatshop. That isn’t because Foxconn carries out such great audits or offers entrepreneurship classes. It’s because it is located in a country with functioning institutions. (Hobbes)
Americans have never put much thought to what they buy because we always have been, and always will be, attracted to the new products/trends, and while most labourers make these products under sweatshop conditions, it is no longer our responsibility to keep boycotting for a socially just corporate society.

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