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American Culture Chapter 5: The Heritage of Abundance.

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Presentation on theme: "American Culture Chapter 5: The Heritage of Abundance."— Presentation transcript:

1 American Culture Chapter 5: The Heritage of Abundance

2 A History of Abundance (1) Americans = 5% of world population Americans use 25% of worlds energy 7 pounds of garbage per person, per day This abundance has helped to shape the American character

3 A History of Abundance (2, 3) This abundance is because America is so large – 3,000,000 square miles Rich fertile land with abundant trees and animals Relatively few native Americans (1,000,000) America became wealthy because of this and the values of the early settlers

4 A History of Abundance (4,5) In Europe, people were either born wealthy or born poor and usually stayed that way In America, status at birth was not important – people could become rich or poor People were more protective of their wealth, and sought to acquire more

5 A History of Abundance (6,7,8) America developed quickly after independence Trading and manufacture were important industries Materialism began to develop into a moral value This material wealth has attracted many people to settle in America

6 From Producers to Consumers (9) In the 1700s and 1800s most Americans were producers In the 20 th century, they became mostly consumers This change was caused by mass advertising Advertisers could broadcast their message to millions of people

7 From Producers to Consumers (10) Television was a major influence in the development of the consumer society Advertisers would place their adverts within entertainment programs In the US, most home have a TV (average = 2) which are watched ~8 hours per day The Average American sees ~50,000 ads per year

8 From Producers to Consumers (11, 12) Mass advertising has become an institution – it has a large influence on peoples everyday lives It has been used to change the way people think Traditionally it is used to sell things – the American economy now depends on consumerism

9 What American Consumers Like (13,14,15,16) Comfort, cleanliness, novelty The American desire for comfort comes from the harsh frontier days The desire for cleanliness may come from their Puritan (Protestant) heritage The desire for novelty may come from their inventiveness

10 What American Consumers Like (17) Americans also like convenience – Washing machines – Clothes driers – Microwave ovens – Drive in movies – Drive throughs – ATMs

11 What American Consumers Like (18) Convenience has also created fast food – served in less than 5 minutes – MacDonalds – KFC – Burger King Home delivery (e.g. Pizza, Chinese food) Microwave dinners

12 What American Consumers Like (19,20) Despite time-saving devices and fast-food, Americans are not less busy Most mothers and children under 18 have some work outside of home Children often have to eat fast-food, and become fat Too busy to enjoy the time they save

13 An Abundance of Technology (21,22,23) Technology has changed many aspects of American life – TV channels have increased, there are now more people watching cable/satellite than original networks There are now fewer people watching more programs – mass advertising has adapted by specializing content

14 An Abundance of Technology (24, 25) By 2000, 50% of households had a PC Most people under 50 use the internet Computers are becoming the center of entertainment in American homes The internet is also used for news, information, and buying and selling

15 Challenges of the Technological Revolution (26, 27, 28, 29) There are many new problems created by technology – Possible monopoly of media for political purposes as technologies merge – Children spend too much time on the computer and not enough time exercising – Quality of content and exposure of children to indecent media – The digital divide – those who have access to computers and those who dont

16 The Ever-Expanding Pie? (30, 31) Throughout American history the abundance of the United States has grown with it Americans believe that their heritage of wealth would always exist This has made Americans very optimistic, and helped to form their national values (see previous)

17 Or the Decline of Abundance? (32,33,34) Recently however, Americans have realized that there may be a limit to their abundant lifestyle. – Energy crisis of 1970s – Stock market decline The cost of the American Dream has risen, but the rate of pay has declined Service workers have very low pay People have to work harder than their parents to have the same standard of living (50-60 hrs/week) Housing has become very expensive

18 What of the Future? (35,36,37) The American heritage of abundance has greatly affected the lifestyles and values of the people A decline in abundance is beneficial in some ways – Less waste – Environmental protection – Recycling However, a prolonged decline in American abundance could have a profound effect of the American identity and its associated values


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