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BBC: "Viewpoint: How the consumer dream went wrong"

"Consumer culture began as an ideological dream that people could change the world, says Jon Alexander. But has it gone too far?"

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" 'On January 24th, Apple will release the Macintosh, and you'll see why 1984 won't be like "1984".'

"These words make up the voiceover of the most important advertisement ever made.

"The ad didn't just announce the arrival of a computer the Macintosh, or even just the arrival of Apple as a brand, but something far more significant:

"In the 90 seconds that this ad took to play out, in the first commercial break of the 1984 Superbowl, the voice of Apple declared that the Consumer had come of age, and was now the dominant force in society. All would bow before them - or rather us - and provide us with whatever we wanted, or suffer the consequences. And that this would release us from the tyranny of oppression.

"Taken in the context of the Cold War in which America and the West now finally had the upper hand, it is hard to overstate the ideological significance of this moment.

" ... We could, it seemed, have it all. So what went wrong?"

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