We live in a consumer-driven society. So much of life is driven by commerce. We are constantly buying or selling. The inescapable barrage of ads reminds us that life here is about making purchases. You can't even pump gas anymore without hearing some product pitch.
As soon as a new means of communication is created, someone harnesses it for advertising. We need people to consume, so that we can sell. We need people to consume so that we can earn a living. Consuming makes our world work.
Some products are necessary, like food and clothing. Some products aren't necessary, but potentially desirable for something other than survival. Those who produce unnecessary products have to create demand for those products. Go see this movie. Buy this car. Eat at this restaurant. Ask your doctor if [some drug] is right for you. The trick is to make you think you really need this product. We know that advertising works, because sellers keep advertising.
This consumer culture seems to be a necessary byproduct of capitalism. One makes a living by producing and selling a product or service. We receive pay for our work. We may provide a service to an employer, or we may sell our product directly to consumers. Our income depends on others spending money. And the better our products are marketed, the more we sell, and the more income we receive.
In a free market, we can sell our products or services to anyone who agrees to pay for them. And so a free market becomes driven by the art of persuading people to buy.
I like capitalism, for the most part, but I find consumerism repulsive. That's hard for me to reconcile.