Consumerism, a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the consumption of products. Stewart Ewen, in his essay "Chosen People" addresses the topic of consumerism in the middle class of America and suggests different negative effects. He supports his claim by describing the nature of the industrial economy, his two contrasting views, followed by the different status identities. Alongside Ewen, writers J.M. Morgan in "Citizenship, Consumerism, and the Pursuit of Excellence" and Jill Bickford in "Consumerism: How it Impacts and its Presence in Library Collections" further expand his claim, the consumerist and mass-production effects on the middle class. Ewen's purpose is to inform the reader of the materialistic rise in the American modern middle class. He wants his audience to realize how consumerism has created an identity crisis in the middle class. .
Ewen takes an unorthodox position on the rise of the middle class and he investigates how consumerism has influenced their sudden growth spurt. Through the use of many examples, he is able to identify to his audience how the ever rising middle class is facing an identity crisis. Stating the origin of their rise, the Industrial Revolution. Ewen quotes, "the emerging colossus of factory capitalism was giving rise to two contrasting perceptions of reality," (186). He continues on to say, "mass production, according to this outlook, was investing individuals with tools of identity, marks of their person-hood," (Ewen 187). According to Ewen, industrial production has .
provided people with many opportunities to better their lives. This new sense of achievement created by the industrial revolution allowed them to believe that they had made it, they achieve the American dream. .
Next, Ewen identifies two contrasting perceptions of social reality, yay or nay. He explains how each side came upon their conclusion of agreeing to either one.