The Quote Garden
 “I dig old books.”
 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Consumerism

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NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.  —ღ Terri, March 2021

Already numbers of our thinkers are beginning to realize that the Midas-touch of Commercialism does not satisfy... ~M.F. Canfield, "Die Wanderlust," To‑Morrow, June 1905

Somebody has to teach Americans that we don't always have to have something newer, better every year. Or in the case of our upside-down economic system, every quarter.... Somewhere along the way we bought into this insane idea that everything always has to get bigger, especially sales. Having a really good year and then just repeating it — not good enough. In corporate America, the stock market is the tail that wags the dog. Growth, growth, holy growth, is the only thing that ever matters. Better than last quarter, beat expectations, eat more hamburgers... ~Bill Maher, "New Rule: Growth At Any Cost," Real Time (HBO), 2016 September 23rd

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. ~Mohandas K. Gandhi, quoted in E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful

Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites. ~William Ruckelshaus, Business Week, 1990 June 18th

God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the west... keeping the world in chains. If [our nation] took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts. ~Mahatma Gandhi

U.S. consumers and industry dispose of enough aluminum to rebuild the commercial air fleet every three months; enough iron and steel to continuously supply all automakers; enough glass to fill New York's World Trade Center every two weeks. ~Environmental Defense Fund advertisement, Christian Science Monitor, 1990

..."Madison Avenue," that mythical advertising copy writer who is supposed to persuade us to wallow in cosmetics and tail-fin cars. We have more Things in our garages and kitchens and cellars than Louis Quatorze had in the whole of Versailles. We are drowning in Things... We are lost in a sluggish, sun-oiled sleep beneath a beach umbrella, dreaming of More and More. ~Archibald MacLeish, in LIFE, "Eloquent Guides to America's National Purpose," 1960  [a little altered —tg]

Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money. ~Author Unknown

After a visit to the beach, it's hard to believe that we live in a material world. ~Pam Shaw

You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy. ~Eric Hoffer

You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need. ~Vernon Howard

The only reason a great many American families don't own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments. ~Mad Magazine

Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends.... Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. ~Henry David Thoreau

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied... but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing. ~John Berger

Racial injustice, war, urban blight, and environmental rape have a common denominator in our exploitative economic system. ~Channing E. Phillips, speech, Washington, D.C., 1970 April 22nd

To perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year. ~E.B. White

I may be a pessimist, but the philosophy of anti-thrift just now coming into being seems to me the greatest danger to the peace of the world. ~Adriano Tilgher

There must be more to life than having everything! ~Maurice Sendak

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. ~Francis H. Bradley

Avarice is fear sheathed in gold. ~Paul Eldridge

Mammon, n.: The god of the world's leading religion. ~Ambrose Bierce

He who buys what he does not need steals from himself. ~Author Unknown

Stuffocation: being overwhelmed by the stuff one has bought or accumulated. ~Author Unknown

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice. ~Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. ~Edward Abbey

I think the enemy is here before us.... I think the enemy is simple selfishness and compulsive greed.... I think he stole our earth from us, destroyed our wealth, and ravaged and despoiled our land. ~Thomas Wolfe, You Can't Go Home Again, 1949

We realize we can't have everything, and so begins the mad scramble to have everything else. ~Robert Brault,

The hardest thing is to take less when you can get more. ~Kin Hubbard

All a gun does is focus an explosion in one direction. You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something. Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don't really need. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, 1996

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy [$h¡t] we don't need. ~Fight Club, 1999, screenplay by Jim Uhls, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk

How do you take a medium seriously when it is so laced with high decibel reminders to run right out to your supermarket, your drug store, your friendly car dealer, your favorite department store and buy.... That's the twentieth century marching song — buy! ~Rod Serling, speech at second district AAF meeting, quoted in Media Decisions, vol. 9, part 1, 1974

Forethought and temperance are the virtues which produced thrift, and with thrift the economic progress of society. And those are the virtues which today are gravely compromised. ~Adriano Tilgher

...when deep-space exploitation ramps up, it will probably be the megatonic corporations that discover all the new planets and map them. The IBM Stellar Sphere. The Philip Morris Galaxy. Planet Denny's. Every planet will take on the corporate identity of whoever rapes it first. Budweiser World. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, 1996

Who covets more, is evermore a slave. ~Robert Herrick

The gap in our economy is between what we have and what we think we ought to have — and that is a moral problem, not an economic one. ~Paul Heyne

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