4.5 Commercial advertising and consumerism as culture

Surplus value created in the process of capitalist production is only realized upon the sale of the goods and services produced. The profit motive, therefore, is the primary cause of consumerism as a disease, that is, consumption for the primary purpose of satisfying the capitalists' need for realizing the profit it makes off labor, not for the primary purpose of satisfying the consumption needs of people.

The primary weapon at the disposal of for-profit corporations is the misapplication of the science of psychology. Instead of putting this science to the service of human health and well-being, it is employed through commercial advertising to divert people from satisfying their real needs. Contrary to the neo-liberal claim that the capitalist market serves to meet human needs, the domination within most sectors of that market by small numbers of supersized corporations has another result. Commercial advertising is used by them to falsely associate the satisfaction of real human needs with the purchase of the goods and services they need to sell. The disease of consumerism is the result. The cultural fight against consumerism, when directed against its lethal source in monopolistic capitalism, is an integral part the struggle for a green social democracy

Whereas today the power over our lives of for-profit corporations is everywhere evident by their virtually unfettered right to dominate and pollute our cultural landscape with their omnipresent, misleading for-profit advertising, the achievement of a green social democratic culture will be most evident by the replacement of in-your-face advertising by scientifically validated information accessible, if people insist on this, only on request by the consumer, not by imposition of the advertiser. This will occur as consumer advocates bring for-profit advertising under stringent regulation, including the requirements that:

- an advertiser's claims - explicit or implicit - be based on and include the best, relevant, available science needed by the consumer to make a rational decision in their own interest,

- the advertiser is fully liable for damage to the consumer that results from any message contained in the advertisement - explicit or implicit - that is misleading, incomplete or false, and

- the producers of commercially available products are required by law to provide the information consumers need for a rational choice at point of sale.


This website was launched September 1, 2010 in support of a green social democratic alternative to neoliberal capitalist policy and practice. The primary result is a work by Charles and Karen McFadden of seven chapters, grouped under the title, Towards a Green Social Democratic Alternative to Capitalism available here in pdf and html formats.

Below under the heading What’s New can be found the most recent materials posted on this website, including opinion pieces, book reviews, articles and selections from the 2017 edition of the main work.  For the interest of new and returning visitors, new materials will be included quarterly.

What's New


Authors' Preface

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

6.0 The socialism we need against the "socialism" of the 20th century

6.8 Additional concerns about 20th century variants of "socialism"

6.9 The people united!

7.1 Policy alternatives and political movements to advance them


Charles and Karen McFadden, Is revolutionary transformation on the agenda

Charles and Karen McFaddenHumanity on the Brink

Charles and Karen McFaddenMovements of Resistance to Movements for System Change

Charles McFaddenTranslating Green Principles into Education Policy and Practice

Charles and Karen McFadden, The Role of Revolutionaries in the Labor Movement


Charles and Karen McFadden, “The Shape of Water” as an Antidote to the Age of Trump 

Charles McFadden, Decolonizing the U.S. & Canada: The People United for a More Just Sustainable Future

Karen and Charles McFaddenCan emergent early 21st century neo-fascism be defeated without coming to grips with late 20th century restructuring of capitalism into a global system

Karen and Charles McFaddenA Dominant Capitalism or a Sustainable Environment? Why we can't have both.


William I. RobinsonThe Crisis of Global Capitalism and Trump's March to War

William I. RobinsonTrumpism, 21st Century Fascism, and the Dictatorship of the Transnational Capitalist Class


George HewisonWINNIPEG 1919 & THE COLD WAR

George HewisonArt Manuel - "Unsettling Canada

George HewisonThe NDP and LEAP


Albert Einstein, David Swanson, Jill Stein, Chris Hedges, William I. Robinson, and others Selected articles for Winter 2018



1.7 The dynamics of capitalism as a system and the limits of single issue reforms

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

3.1 The challenge of a moribund economic system

3.7 Public banking: A cornerstone of a green social democracy

4.7 Economics and culture

6.5 Using the non-market economy as an opportunity to begin moving beyond capitalism


1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

2.0 Theoretical Perspective: Defining Green Social Democracy

2.5. Socialism and green social democracy in historical materialist theory

4.3 Culture in historical perspective

5.1 Contrasting a green social democratic world with the currently prevailing, but challenged neo-liberal one

6.2 Socialism and capitalism as coexisting social systems


2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

5.7 Defeating neo-liberal capitalism: The role of social movements

7.3 Justice: Creating a just society, based on the right of all to a dignified, secure existence

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies to all work posted on this website except that which appears with authors whose last name is other than McFadden, in which case standard copyright should be assumed to apply.