The Waste Makers

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The Waste Makers
First edition
Author Vance Packard
Country United States
Subject Consumerism
Publisher David McKay
Publication date
Pages 306
ISBN 978-1935439370

The Waste Makers is a 1960 book on consumerism by Vance Packard. It was bestselling when it was released. The book argues that people in the United States consume a lot more than they should and are harmed by their consumption.


One reviewer summarized the book's thesis as follows:

American society overemphasizes consumption, especially the quantity rather than the quality of what it consumers, and that it therefore sacrifices culture, prudence, and a proper concern for the future. He blames these distorted values on the business community, especially on the marketers and advertisers who have beguiled the public into accepting false standards.[1]

Another reviewer described how marketers "force feed" people into buying things which are wasteful.[2]

Vance Packard worked to change the meaning of the term "consumerism" from a positive word about consumer practices to a negative word meaning excessive materialism and waste.[3] The ads for his book The Waste Makers prominently featured the word "consumerism" in a negative way.[3]


One reviewer said that the book is an examination of how economic growth became thought to be a virtue.[4]

Another reviewer said that the book describes the manipulation of ordinary people by business interests.[5] The reviewer for Commentary noted that Packard had made harsh attacks on businessmen.[6]


  1. ^ Rees, Albert (July 1961). "The Waste-Makers and the String-Savers". The Journal of Business. University of Chicago Press. 34 (3): 367–373. 
  2. ^ McKay, David (Sep 30, 1960). "The Waste Makers by Vance Packard". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Glickman, Lawrence B. (2012). Buying power : a history of consumer activism in America (Paperback ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0226298672. 
  4. ^ Rondell, Paul (Summer 2000). "Book Review of The Hidden Persuaders and The Waste Makers by Vance Packard". Social Contract. The Social Contract Press. 10 (4). 
  5. ^ Johnson, Daniel (24 September 2009). "Book review: The Waste Makers by Vance Packard.". The Salem News. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Lipset, Seymour Martin (January 1961). "The Waste Makers, by Vance Packard". Commentary. 

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