"The term consumerism has been current since the middle 1960s, about the same length of time as the Department of Transportation itself. Literally interpreted, the word means 'an ideology based on the opposite of being productive.' This ideology has caused enormous changes in the American economy. At one time complaining was a cottage industry. The typical maker of complaints gave them to (or traded them with) friends and family members. Sometimes the complaints were sent to newspapers or included in prayers. Friends, family, the press and God then ignored the complaints. In the sixties, however, various consumer advocates began to help complainers find a market for their wares. There is only one organization that is required to take everyone -- and their complaints -- seriously. So the government became the foremost grumble customer. And it is, of course, the government's bureaucratic agencies who have to do the buying."
P. J. O'Rourke
(1947-2022) US humorist, journalist, & political commentator
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Reader comments about this quote:
The government is truly a huge consumer and scarsely ever a producer!
 -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    The government produces nothing...ever! Anything the government does, it does with "our money". So the next time someone says they're getting something for free from the government...tell them, no you're not, you're stealing it from Me!
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Pelosi and the gang are producers, producing much grief for the rest of us . The fact that these types are even in the congress is a testament to how far down the road to fascism our country has gone.
     -- jim k, austin     
    Just another complaint in the form of pseudo-humor (both the quote and the above pseudo-comments)...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
    Isn't it funny about the consumer prejudice of that governmental complaint department. Nearly 2 million at Washington DC, 1 million at another rally, and untold numbers all over the country met on 9-12 with little to no noteworthyness while a hundred or so gays complaining about Obamanation's promises got front page complaint coverage. Where is Hilary's bully complaint megaphone about the to little flu serum now that she's in charge hmm Anonymous, you must be part of the all powerful pseudo- governmental complaint department
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Government only consumes special complaints; those from the poor and pitiful who make it a cottage industry to be poor and pitiful: Those who could produce, but would rather consume (the productive lives of other people that is). The complaints of the productive worker are never consumed.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    ANON there's nothing false in my comment,,,the government produces "nothing". There, I've said it again :)
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Consumerism was brought about simply by greed and corporations doing away with longevity and devices that cost little or nothing.
     -- RBESRQ     
    Robert, I very much agree with you here. Consumerism, a major portion of fascist induced Keynesian economics (as is adverse to fiscal law - one aspect of natural law) has been the death to the free market system and any part of capitalism that was the financial life blood of this once free, vibrant, prosperous, and great nation.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Without consumerism where would capitalists and industrialists be. Who is going to buy the toilet paper anyway, if not consumers?
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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