An exposé of "the systematic attempt of business to make us wasteful, debt-ridden, permanently discontented individuals," The Waste Makers is Vance Packard's pioneering 1960 work on how the rapid growth of disposable consumer goods was degrading the environmental, financial, and spiritual character of American society.
The Waste Makers was the first book to probe the increasing commercialization of American life—the development of consumption for consumption's sake. Packard outlines the ways manufacturers and advertisers persuade consumers to buy things they don't need and didn't know they wanted, including the two-of-a-kind of everything syndrome—"two refrigerators in every home"—and appeals to purchase something because it is more expensive, or because it is painted in a new color. The book also brought attention to the concept of planned obsolescence, in which a "death date" is built into products so that they wear out quickly and need to be replaced. By manipulating the public into mindless consumerism, Packard believed that business was making us "more wasteful, imprudent, and carefree in our consuming habits," which was using up our natural resources at an alarming rate.
A prescient book that predicted the rise of American consumer culture, this all new edition of The Waste Makers features an introduction by best-selling author Bill McKibben.
Vance Packard (1914-1996) was an American journalist, social critic, and best-selling author. Among his other books were The Hidden Persuaders, about how advertisers use psychological methods to get people to buy the products they sell; The Status Seekers, which describes American social stratification and behavior; and The Naked Society, about the threats to privacy posed by new technologies.
THE DEVELOPING DILEMMA
1. City of the Future?
2. The Nagging Prospects of Saturation
IN RESPONSE, NINE STRATEGIES
4. There's Always Room for More
5. Progress Through the Throwaway Spirit
6. Progress Through Planned Obsolescence
7. Planned Obsolescence of Desirability
8. How to Outmode a $4,000 Vehicle in Two Years
9. America's Toughest Car—and Thirty Models Later
10. The Short, Sweet Life of Home Products
11. Fashion Lines for the Kitchen
12. The Repairman's Paradise
13. Progress Through Planned Chaos
14. Selling on the Never-Never
15. Hedonism for the Masses
16. Progress Through Proliferation of People
17. Ever-Mounting Consumption?
18. The Vanishing Resources
19. The Commercialization of American Life
20. The Changing American Character
SOME SUGGESTED COURSES
21. Restoring Pride in Prudence
22. Restoring Pride in Quality
23. Respecting the Eternal Balance
24. Facing the Unmet Challenges
25. Achieving an Enduring Style of Life