Ifwe take a glance at the families from the past times and their way of tacklingthe challanges of life, we can see their providing for their needs as farmers,artisans etc. was enough to satisfy the bare necessities of living. However,beginning at the early 18th century, with the effect of Industrial Revolution, theeconomy started to grow visibly and alongside with it, the wages increased incourse of time. With the help of the Revolution, it became easier to accessdiverse and large quantity of products and material goods; the variety offurniture, clothes and food increased, industrial innovations and new ways ofspending money emerged and buying and selling became a social and culturalactivity. Therefore, the families realized that they could spare some money forsmall luxuries; for the things that they did not feel the lack of before. Butit was not remained that simple; this change among society leaded to commodityculture and consequently to Consumerism and Materialism leaded by Capitalism.
Inour modern world, we live according to our demands required for a desirable,comfortable and effortless life, therefore we are surrounded by enormous amountof choice for different products in which we can choose whatever we want.Consumerism engenders competition in the marketplace which causes manyinnovations and developments for the benefit of the consumers and serves thepurpose of the companies, the economists and the capitalists. It also causesemployment, rising income and integrated economy and these are all necessaryfor a country which is developing economically. Consumption is simply whatkeeps the machine going as it can be clearly seen from the advice given tosociety by President Bush to go shopping and returning to business after the9/11 attacks.1″BabyBoomers” who were born after the end of the World War II witnessed andexperienced the real effect of the large-scale production and consumption.
G.I.Billbenefits gave a chance to the servicemembers, the veterans and their familiesof the World War II for education and work. People who had greatly sufferedfrom the outcomes of the war were encouraged to multiply and start a family byadvertisements and campaigns which were supported by politicians, businessmen, artistsetc.. With the emergence of this generation, marketing found a way to expandand a huge consumer movement began.
Sociological researches and analyzes arguethat those who belong to this era became members of the senior management ofthe companies or even at a higher position in the society –examples ofeffective presidents of USA such as Bill Clinton, George Bush, most recentlyDonald Trump- and direct the community by using their status and power in the directionof their own interests. “The Road”2 explicitly displays the consumeristmind, a boy and a father from the post-apocalyptic times wandering around the wreckedand ruined streets of the city and pushing a shopping cart infinitely like theworld is a marketplace and they are getting whatever they are in need of. Anevident instance of consumerism is when the father and the boy try to offload aship, even after getting what they need as much as they can carry, the fatherwants to take a final look at the ship, leaving his son alone and scared. He isnot aware of the fact that they had absolutely nothing in the first place andwhen he finds a possible source, he just cannot get enough of it.Alongside with the marauders and the thieves, the brutal andinsatiable cannibal gangs who are blinded by consumerism and when they finallyfinish all the natural resources they choose to consume anything in order tosurvive even if it does not conform to morality.
Consumerism is not only aboutusing up the material possessions but also about exploiting countries andharming their inhabitants and destroying nature. Mass production andconsumption creates rush and haste in society by making them think that theyare missing out on their opportunities, therefore they have to be reckless andruthless.In the novel, the time and the place of the event is notentitled but only the man-made materials which serve to the consumerist societyis identified. McCarthy emphasizes that while the newspapers and magazineswhich are disposable and temporary products scattered out on the road andremains still, like the gas stations, markets, billboards, remnants which standfor the capitalist order of the old world but the trees which were theresources of many things once, is distroyed. When the father and son on theroad, they pass through places with billboards which bear the stamps of theconsumer society. “They sat by the side of the road and ate the last of theapples.” and there are dusty and unreadable billboards that advertised productsthat no longer exists because of the people who caused the catastrophe by theirgreedy and negligent acts. Similarly, when the boy asks whether the dam wouldbe remained for a long time, the father answers, “It’smade out of concrete.
It will probably be there for hundreds of years.Thousands, even.”. But when the boy asks aboutthe fish in the lake, he says that there are none. Whilethe natural resources of life has been destroyed, things that people did withtheir own hands continue to exist. While they are surviving an immense catastrophic event andeverything is terribly extinguished, there is one commodity in the novel whichis highly distinguishable and called by its brand name -predictably “CocaCola”. It is pretty clear in the quotation from famous artist Andy Warhol(1928-1987) which suggests, “What’s great about this country is America startedthe tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things asthe poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know thatthe President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you candrink Coke, too.
A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a betterCoke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the sameand all the Cokes are good.”3 Coca Cola -coca-colonization- entitlesthe globalization of American way of life and the cultural influence ofAmerican trademarks. The brand represents cultural imperialism by spreadingAmerican ideals through highly demanded material goods. It is interesting thataccording to the company, “Coca Cola is the most widely known word after OK.
“.4In conclusion, there have been a system emphasizing unceasinglythat we all have to consume to exist for a long time but we do not realize howwe harm one another or our surroundings while we are doing this. As a result,the world decays and collapses but as the man states in the novel, “Perhaps inthe world’s destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made.”.