1) A consumer is socially defined as someone whom is pressured into buying items forced upon them my capitalist methods. They are also people who believe that if they buy a particular item it will make their lives better. Society has forced consumerism unto people and it has increased over the last century. A consumer was not constructed until the 19th century, when the times emphasized moderation and self-denial. At this time workers were to be frugal and save their money.
Most of the time the typical family produced most of what they needed and had few household possessions. The families had little arousal of desire because there were no prepackaged items with brand names and most of the items were displayed in bulk. The main creation of the consumer was the creation of advertising. The goal of advertising was to aggressively shape consumers desires and create value in commodities by imbuing them with the power to transform the consumer into a more desirable person. In the 1880s there was only about 30 million spent on advertising in the US, by 1910 it was up to about 600 million, and today 120 billion is spent on advertising in the US alone.
Another way of making people consumers is the development of department stores, where they market goods in ways that arouse desire to the people. They also use different display and presentation techniques to inspire purchases. They also try to create consumers by making buying easier with consumer credit, this give the consumer a charging account or the ability to pay over installments. There are many things that helped transform people in to consumers including the institutional transformation, which is a major social institution redefining the function to promote consumerism. Some of these institutions are education institutions, for example creation of business and fashion design schools that were developed in the early 1900s.
Others include government institutions, which is divided into local and federal governments. The local governments make up shopping districts and zoning regulations and federal governments have a commerce department, whose main goal is to encourage consumption of commodities. The federal government also endorses retail, cooperative advertising and individual homeownership, and single person dwellings. All this is just to promote consumerism.