— Ellen Willis writer, activist 1941 - 2006
Context: Under present conditions, people are preoccupied with consumer goods not because they are brainwashed but because buying is the one pleasurable activity not only permitted but actively encouraged by our rulers. The pleasure of eating an ice cream cone may be minor compared to the pleasure of meaningful, autonomous work, but the former is easily available and the latter is not. A poor family would undoubtedly rather have a decent apartment than a new TV, but since they are unlikely to get the apartment, what is to be gained by not getting the TV?
"Women and the Myth of Consumerism", Ramparts (1969) http://fair-use.org/ellen-willis/women-and-the-myth-of-consumerism