'Consumerism' Rises in World

The Christian Science Monitor, October 27, 1956

Updated: May 15, 2013

“Consumerism” came to have several meanings in the postwar years, referring both to consumer organization (see: Consumers Cooperate) as well as to the general growth of mass consumption and its significance for economies, transatlantic trade, and investment. This 1956 article from The Christian Science Monitor describes the development and scope of global “consumerism,” more precisely the intensified global focus on the consumer in business as well as in politics. The article highlights the efforts of Americans to enhance European investment in their country by referring to Keith Funston, president of the New York Stock Exchange, and his talk in London on October 25, 1956. His call for “a greater flow of capital between the nations and businesses of the world” serves as an example for the contemporary awareness of the global interlacing of economies and societies in the postwar era. It further underlines the relevance of mass consumption for American efforts in Western Europe during the Cold War.

“Without noticing it, the world has suddenly entered the period of widerspread international consumerism. Breaches occurring in the walls of international communism—breaches which may ultimately clear the way for resumption of more extensive trade and communication among nations—highlighted the faster pace of the new consumerism. The free economies were not standing still, and businessmen and nations were turning their attention to the source of economic growth and progress: the consumer. […] The victors of the next decade will be those who seek to understand and satisfy the consumer and who can aid the consumer in accepting his role.”

Article available through ProQuest (subscription required)

White, Nate. “‘Consumerism’ Rises in World.” The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 27, 1956, p. 1.

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