More and more of our daily lives revolve around and are dominated by economic exchange. Public spaces are replaced with privately owned malls whose only function is to promote commercial interaction. Small neighbourhood businesses are replaced by cloned chain stores. Our mental landscape itself is colonized by advertising. “Fashion” turns people into walking billboards. Authentic real life experiences are obliterated by media-driven shallow and frenetic sensation seeking. Mindless “entertainment” and celebrity worship function as Weapons of Mass Distraction. The purpose of education has been perverted to the creation of a pliable, compliant workforce. Culture has no meaning unless it can be used as a marketing vehicle with all the artistic integrity of an advertising jingle. Even our youngest children are targeted by the marketers. The world’s rich tapestry of diversity is homogenized to better generate McProfits. Nothing is of value unless it can be bought and sold. Marketplace democracy is reduced to one dollar/one vote. People are no longer citizens but only consumers whose value to society is determined by what they can afford to purchase. I shop, therefore I am.

Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America    by Kalle Lasn (1999)     Lively, readable account by the creator of Adbusters of the neoliberal corporate takeover of our culture and society. ????????

No Logo: Taking Aim At the Brand Bullies    by Naomi Klein (2000)     The classic work on globalization and its effect on people’s lives.    Also DVD

Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood    by Susan Linn (2004)     Exposes the insidious techniques used by advertisers targeting children and the damage they cause.

Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture    by Juliet Schor (2004)     Examines the effect of our ubiquitous advertising onslaught on the young. Academically oriented.

We Know What You Want: How They Change Your Mind    by Martin Howard (2005)     Quick and easy and frightening survey of deceptive advertising and public relations techniques.

Not Buying it: My Year Without Shopping    by Judith Levine (2006)     One couple’s year of voluntary simplicity.

Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers    by Alissa Quart (2003)     The exploitation of young people by corporate advertisers and the commodification of their everyday environment.