2What Did We Lose and Where Did It Go?

TO GRASP THE FULL EFFECTS of a consumer society, it is useful to understand two of its core elements: (1) the systems and management that have developed to provide the scale necessary for consumerism, and (2) the professional industries that have been constructed to service it. By seeing the consumer ecology for what it is, we can become citizens again. We can shift our thinking and re-decide who we take ourselves to be: producers of our own future or purchasers of what others have in mind for us.

Before proceeding, a small disclosure: For the sake of clarity, we contrast the system world and the community world in what may seem like dramatic or black-and-white terms. That representation actually is close ...

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