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The American Consumer - The Rise Of The Consumer Culture, Contemporary Consumer Spending, Rising Debt, Decreasing Savings, And Stagnating Incomes

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By the early twenty-first century the United States was a society driven largely by consumerism—not just economically, but socially and culturally as well. This consumer culture, which began its rise after World War II ended in 1945, reached unprecedented levels by the early 2000s, with consumer spending accounting for more than 67% of gross domestic product in 2003. Such aggressive spending helps fuel both the American and the global economies, as imported goods are widely available and popular in the American market. However, not all effects have been positive. Since the 1980s the spending habits of many Americans have driven them deeply into debt, as spending has actually outpaced the steady rise in median income, while the savings level has dropped. In addition, in parts of the world that are less prosperous, the American consumer is seen as selfish and spoiled because of what often seems like limitless spending and materialism.

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