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Argumentative Analysis

1234 words - 5 pages

People desire to be happy. Today’s media has placed a great amount of emphasis on materialistic views with regard to happiness. They tell consumers that the more expensive items they possess, the more happy and successful their lives will be. One way that the media instills this value is through advertising. Advertising companies seek to exploit peoples’ desire for happiness by influencing them into thinking they need whatever product is being advertised in order to be happy. Another way the media enforces materialism is by turning children into a commodity. This can have negative effects on children and teach them and teach them that it is more important to pursue material possessions ...view middle of the document...

I do not believe the pursuit of materialism as one’s primary goal in life will lead to happiness. A certain degree of acquisition is necessary to provide a level of physical comfort and a desire to provide a comfortable life for one’s family is a healthy pursuit that gives motivation to squire education and training to achieve these goals. But as an end unto itself it will only lead one to try to acquire the next possession, in belief that it will bring them happiness. In “The High Price of Materialism” Tim Kasser writes, “Indeed what stands out across the studies [the affect of materialism on well-being] is a simple fact, people who strongly value the pursuit of wealth and possessions report lower psychological well-being than those who are less concerned with such aims”. (92) We often read about individuals who win large sums of money in the lottery, or the children of very rich parents whose lives are fraught with troubles such as substance abuse and even early demise. This would not be if materialism were truly capable of bringing happiness to our lives. I think that a strong religious foundation and a desire to help others leads to a greater fulfillment than possessions are able to. You must believe in things greater than yourself. In “Advertisings Fifteen Basic Appeals,” Jib Fowles writes about the ways that people are being manipulated by advertising. If you study an ad closely you should be able to detect how the company is trying to coax consumers into buying their product. Fowles broke this strategy into fifteen different appeals to our basic instincts. He also mentions that when polled, Americans are not negative about advertising and do not feel that they are being misused. He states, “The volume of advertising may be an irritant, but the product information as well as the imaginative material in add are partial compensation” (57). Because we are exposed to so many ads in our lives, all of this psychological manipulation would have to make many people more materialistic, as it is the nature of people to want to impress and fit in with peers. I think that free market capitalism and advertising are inseparable; one drives the other. Many adults understand advertising tactics and it does not as readily affect them. Children, however, can be very susceptible to its effects, especially the negatives.
Free market capitalism is turning children into just another commodity. (Add transition to this sentence) In “Commodifying Kids: The Forgotten Crisis,” Henry Giroux says, “Subject to an advertising and marketing industry that spends over 17 billion dollars a year on shaping children’s identities and desires, American youth are carpet-bombed through a never-ending proliferating of market...

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