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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 11, 2001

Social and Political Philosophy

William L. McBride
Pages 27-41

Consumerist Cultural Hegemony Within a Cosmopolitan Order—Why Not?

The issue that I wish to address is, why protest and criticize the increasing hegemony of what has been called the “culture of consumerism”? This “why not?” objection encompasses three distinct sets of questions. First, is not resistance to it akin to playing the role of King Canute by the sea? Second, is not acceptance of it dictated by the current liberal philosophical consensus that acknowledges and endorses an inevitable diversity in different individuals’ conceptions of what is good, and must not this consensus itself be taken as a given by all who are opposed to political and religious totalitarianisms? Third, does not cosmopolitanism, regarded as a value-orientation favorable to the dissolution or at least minimization of national boundaries and the practices of exclusivity associated therewith, make common cause in the present historical conjuncture with this same trend? I will argue for a “No” answer to all of these questions.

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