Consumerism, if it doesn't define the US, certainly describes it. The marketing that it spawns drives our political campaigns and pays for most sports, newspapers, magazines, radio, television and internet sites.
Advertisements try to convince us to buy products and services that we don't need, or undo brand loyalty to increase market share.
I am fairly sure that, as disposable income dries up, the dirty secret at the heart of the marketing sector will kill or cripple it.
The secret: It probably doesn't work!
I have been reading some mathematical papers on marketing. It is well-known that new marketing campaigns lead to increased sales, but only for a while. When this data is discussed, two factors are not considered:
1. The cost of the campaign itself is not factored into the increased sales.
2. There is no attempt made to check how much of the increased business is simply consumers buying earlier than they would have otherwise.
Since the manufacturers relies on marketing firms for their research, and the latter have a vested interest in the results, it is no surprise that these slip under the radar.
In other words, the sector is a huge bubble which, unlike investment or housing, has absolutely nothing backing it up!