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Greed Materialism in the 1980's and the Cold War - Essay Example

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Greed Materialism in the 1980's and the Cold War

The ideological war between Capitalism and Soviet Communism would be fought not only in the missile silos, but also in the marketplace. The Reaganites were back in power and their power knew no bounds. When the conservative values of the Cold War 1950s hit the technology of the 1980s, it was like a kid in the candy store where everything was possible, but only the lustful greed was probable.
America was in need of a facelift in 1980. Decades of stagflation, corruption, and drifting through a series of lame ideologies left the 1980 election up for grabs to the most imaginative candidate. Maybe Americans were tired or had simply watched too much television. In the land of Jefferson and Lincoln, the country made an unusual choice in selecting "...the unlikely figure, the former movie actor Ronald Reagan, to whom Americans turned in the critical election of 1980 to arrest the nation's sclerotic drift" (Collins). After the litany of Nixon, Ford, and Carter, Americans wanted someone that could at least act presidential. Reagan would soon have the whole country acting.
Winning the Cold War would demand that everyone in America begin to act rich. The truly rich would have the flaunt it and the rest would have to fake it. Cold War technology had given us leisure suits, microwave ovens, and tang. On any street corner in America you could hear the new awakening bringing out the thirst for new products. "I'm wandering around VideoVisions, the video rental store near my apartment on the Upperwest Side, sipping on a can of Diet Pepsi, the new Christopher Cross tape blaring from the earphones of my Sony Walkman" (Ellis 111). This economic explosion was propelled forward as Capra explains, "The information technology revolution is the result of a complex dynamic of technological and human interactions. The key innovations that created the radically new electronic environment of the 1990s all took place 20 years earlier, during the 1970s". Cold War technology had met the new Hollywood version of conspicuous consumption.
Sometimes being conspicuous was not enough. The 80s demanded an over the top attitude and a rub your face in it prosperity. If the Cold War was to be won, it would be won by wealth. Every American was entitled to the basic necessities such as, "...a new facial scrub by Caswell-Massey and a body wash by Greune, then a body moisturizer by Lubriderm and a Neutrogena facial cream. I debate between two outfits. One is a wool crepe suit by Bill Robinson I bought at Saks with this cotton jacquard shirt from Charivari and an Armani tie" (Ellis 76). This was the uniform of the day, This was the nouveau dollar bill chic that verified, "The most greedy and self-serving spending was done in the 1980s under the guidance of Ronald Reagan" ("Generation X"). Americans were demonstrating this new freedom. They were free to talk rich and act as if they were.
The new consumer exuberance that was swept in by the 80s was a top down attitude that stressed there was no spending too small to help or too big to hurt. This was exemplified in the American mind by the government's approach to the Cold War. This war would not be won on the battlefield, it would be won in the boardroom. Research scientists were agog with the new push toward military spending. Weapons research led the way in excessive gluttony with Star Trek devices that were ...Show more

Summary

When the Cold War conservatives of the 1950s woke up on January 20, 1980 there was a Hollywood actor in the White House and a new attitude in America. The Cold War, which had lain dormant since the space race, was reawaken and with it the people were given a new sense of priorities…
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Greed Materialism in the 1980s and the Cold War essay example
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