[LEKCJA ANG.] Keeping up with the Joneses – Consumerism

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The topic for today is „consumerism”.
 
Task 1.
Read the text below to get the general idea:

 
The mentality best expressed in a well-known saying ‘’keeping up with the Joneses’’ is thought to be the beginning of the American consumer culture. Originally, consumerism was a policy used to encourage people to go out and spend their income so the economy could grow. Unfortunately in the late 1940s it became synonymous with the American way of life, which was mainly based on obsessive greed of material things and enormous credit card debts. After the World War II American families started to buy huge amounts of home-and-family based items on an unprecedented scale, which over decades lead to the era of Mass Consumption and consumerism in the USA. People began to purchase things which they did not really need but could afford with plastic money. They kept spending money beyond their income-level, mostly on bigger houses, faster cards, trendier clothes and fancier technology. The majority of working-class American citizens just could not resist the desire to keep up with the Joneses, e.g. to maintain the economic level of life of average Americans. Having material possessions simply meant belonging to the upper class of the society. In consequence, the compulsive consumerism and obsessive greed for possessions of the American population meant huge debts. Statistics say that the average American owns 3.5 credit cards and has $15.799 in credit card debt. Most Americans are now living in a pile of debt which may never be paid off. The buying of goods has become almost a national ritual in America and the temptation to possess more is really hard to resist, especially with the contemporary power of advertising.
 
It is said that consumerism becomes excessive when it extends beyond what is actually needed. The consumption culture surrounds us completely. It becomes almost natural for many people to be greedier than they used to be in the past. The never-ending desire to upscale lifestyle and the need to keep up with evolving trends takes over human lives. The pressure to impress others with material possessions is so overwhelming that only a few strong ones are capable of refraining themselves from spending sprees. Maybe living a minimalist life or the idea of pragmatic spending represent options which are worth considering?
 
Task 2.
Study the text carefully and decide whether the sentences below are T (true) or F (false):

 

1. Consumer culture is typical of the American society. ……

2. The idea of consumerism has changed its meaning over the years. ……

3. Americans as a nation are very economical with money. ……

4. The Second World War made American families really poor. ……

5. Americans tend to invest only in things they really need. ……

6. Most Americans cannot afford the way of life they lead. ……

7. The temptation to possess material items has become obsessive. ……

8. Americans are able to pay off their debts from their regular incomes. ……

9. Nowadays it is difficult to resist shopping or spending money. ……

10. Pragmatic spending might be a suitable solution for obsessive buyers. ……

 
Task 3.
Watch the video and listen to the song „Ka-ching” and complete the lyrics below:

 

 

We live in a ……… little world
that teaches every little boy and girl
to …..…. as much as they can possibly,
then turn around and …..… it foolishly.
We’ve created us a ……..… mess.
We spend the ……… we don’t possess.
Our religion is to go and ……… it all,
so it’s shopping every Sunday at the ………
Ref. [All we ever want is ……… ,
a lot more than we had before,
so take me to the nearest ………
Can you hear it …….…?
It makes you wanna sing.
It’s such a beautiful thing – Ka-ching.
Lots of ……… rings,
The ……… it brings.
You’ll live like a ………,
With lots of money and ………]
When you’re ……… , go and get a ……….
Take out another ……… on your home.
…….… so you can afford
to go and spend more when you get bored.
Ref. [ All we ever want is more …]
Let’s swing.
Dig deeper in your …….…
Oh, yeah, ha …
Come on I know you’ve got it.
Dig deeper in your …….…
Oh …
Ref. [All we ever want is more …]

 
 
LEKCJA DO POBRANIA:
Set 61 – Keeping up…

 
KLUCZ ODPOWIEDZI:
Set 61 – Keeping up… – KEY

 
 
Żródło: Agencja tłumaczeń i szkoła językowa Skrivanek
 
 
 

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