How The United States Used Displays Of Lavish And Modern Consumerism

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Greg Castillo’s article examines how the United States used displays of lavish and modern consumerism, as an effective tool in the fight against communism. The thesis of the article is that the desire for consumer goods is, at least, partially responsible for causing unrest in the Eastern Bloc and exposed how different the Soviet’s communist tenets were from what humans’ desire. In the introduction of Greg’s article, he speaks of a fictitious account published in 1951 by sociologist David Reisman’s. In this account Reisman tells of how ‘Operation Abundance’ is being waged against the Soviet Union. Instead of using guns and bombs to accomplish their goals, the US was air-dropping appliances, clothing, and other luxury goods to the Russian people. After the realization of what they are missing out on, the Russian people would begin to expect more goods for going along with the communist program. This would put further pressure on the Soviet’s, already strained, money supply and resources. Castillo points out that in “less than a decade after its publication, Reisman’s fiction came to seem prophetic. In the summer of 1959, Russians got their first taste of the US consumer lifestyle in the American National Exhibition in Moscow.” (261) In this well-written article, Castillo recounts the various attempts that were made to showcase the modern consumerist way of life to the soviet people. Starting in West Berlin, the state department had put together various exhibitions, in hopes…

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