Vicki Robin: American consumers

Posted by admin on Thursday, April 13, 2023

Meaning of Vicki Robin Money Quote: saying members of U.S Society were once called ‘Citizens’ – but have been downgraded to ‘consumers’. Vicki Robin said:

Americans used to be 'citizens.' Now we are 'consumers' Quote

“Americans used to be ‘citizens.’ Now we are ‘consumers'” — Vicki Robin


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This quote from Vicki Robin suggests that Americans’ identity and role in society has shifted from “citizens” focused on civic participation and governance, to “consumers” defined more by commercial activities and transactions. Some key points in interpreting the perspective:

  • Robin implies this reframing has diminished public-spiritedness and democratic involvement, instead emphasizing people’s economic function as purchasers of goods/services.
  • She portrays a view that commercialism now dominates national priorities and discourse more than principles of self-governance and shared prosperity through non-market institutions and values.

However, a balanced interpretation is that citizenship and consumption are not mutually exclusive, and reasonable people disagree on their proper balance in a diverse society. While Robin aims to critique what she views as over-emphasis on economic roles, the best analysis considers this perspective as one viewpoint in ongoing discussions.

Multiple factors shape communities in complex, dynamic ways according to changing needs and priorities. Optimizing welfare involves open-minded consideration of evidence-based solutions respecting individuals’ capacity to contribute from their own philosophies and situations.

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