Materialism and Postmaterialism

The term materialism refers to a set of values where the individual is primarily concerned with material possessions. Karl Marx used the term materialism to show that the major concern for individuals throughout history has been the acquisition of those goods and services required for survival. However, others such as Russell Belk have shown that in contemporary society individuals have transformed that concern for material security into a more egocentric value set. Such notions are found within consumer cultures where “conspicuous consumption” (Veblen 1994) practices involve the acquisition of more wealth and goods for the outward expression of success. In recent times, however, Ronald Inglehart has proposed that this particular ideal is beginning to fade with intergenerational change as societies across the West develop postmaterialist ...

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