betacity


coffee and consumer goods
February 24, 2011, 7:38 pm
Filed under: betaCITY | Tags: ,

These maps from Keller Easterling’s design studio at Yale University speak volumes about how we like our coffee and consumer goods purchased, shipped, presented to us.  We’re the only country in the world that couldn’t figure out how to make good coffee and produce it and present it in independently owned coffee shops.  Same with consumer goods.  And corporations stepped in to fill the void.  Our consumer culture is based on corporations and big boxes; for a society that is supposedly so individualistic, we are decidedly corporate in our thinking about fitting in and shopping.

Michael Lewis describes where this phenomenon came from in his article in Slate –

All this led Whyte to a simple theory: The Protestant Ethic, with its emphasis on rugged individualism, had been displaced in American life by something else. “The Social Ethic” is the fancy name Whyte gave that something else. The Organization Man believed in the essential rightness of large groups–and in the essential wrongness of the individual. He felt very strongly that people had a moral obligation to fit in. To Whyte, this represented an important shift in American values. Americans were not merely working differently now; they were voting, praying, dressing, buying, and loving differently, too. And all this flowed from changes in corporate culture.

Michael Lewis, The New Organization Man, Slate

 

 

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