How capitalism stole Christmas (and killed the planet along the way)
The holiday season is upon us and with it, a deluge of new technology, trinkets and advertisements convincing us to let go. But of course, this torrent of consumption is nothing new, especially in the free-market capitalist consumer nation of the United States. Each year, the holiday shopping season, which runs from November to December, sees huge monthly profits for businesses, employees overwhelmed by inhumane workloads and environmental destruction. And every year, the links from consumerism to capitalism to the climate crisis are laid bare again. Today we dive into the holidays and the manufactured desire to know more to understand how capitalism is driving the climate crisis. But it is not enough to criticize, we will also try to understand what will dismantle our current system and develop in its place an ecologically healthy and ethical world.
Under the glittering glitter of Christmas lights and shrouded in the guise of wrapped gifts, lies the harsh reality of the holidays in the Imperial Core. Beginning with the celebration of the Colonial Genocide on Thanksgiving, immediately followed by the capitalist Black Friday and Cyber Monday plans that turn into a month of Christmas celebrations featuring sweeping gift ceremonies, the holiday has been co-opted by businesses and the relentless desire for profit and growth. Giving gifts has been part of the winter vacation philosophy for hundreds of years, a tradition some scholars point to 19th-century New York aristocrats to have started as a way to shift the December vacation away from one season to the next. where “the poorest might demand food and drink. of the rich and celebrating in the streets ” at one of the warm celebrations at home encouraging gifts to children. But the quantity of freebies was generally low in the 1800s, and it wasn’t until the boom in advertising around the turn of the 20th century that retailers, especially toy retailers, saw the potential of the holidays for profit and capital accumulation. In the 2000s, retail sales in the United States during the holiday season hit $ 416.4 billion and have only grown. Among the many factors that cause the American shopper to spend an average of $ 1,000 on gifts each year, advertising is definitely making its mark. Ads make us feel good about something that we know, deep down, is unethical, unnecessary, harmful, or all three. It’s the rose-tinted glasses that make things in our home seem necessary when they actually aren’t. So, for a moment, let’s remove those rose-tinted glasses and understand the impact of the capitalist model on ourselves, our planet, and our vacations.
To learn more about the environmental impacts of vacations, watch the video above!
Our changing climate is an environmental YouTube channel that explores the intersections of social, political, climate and food issues. The channel covers topics such as zero waste and nuclear energy in order to understand how to effectively fight climate change and environmental destruction.
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