Vance Packard (1914 – 1996) writer and critic of consumerism

Consumerism - Vance Packard
Consumerism – Vance Packard

Vance Packard (1914 – 1996) was an American writer who brought many of the less favourable effects of consumerism in the developed world to the public’s attention in a straightforward manner. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University in 1936, he started his career as a journalist writing for several newspapers and the Associated Press before becoming the editor of American magazine from 1942 to 1946.

In 1957, he published The Hidden Persuaders, a vehement assault on the American advertising industry. He exposed how behavioural psychologists, colour consultants, and others could convince people to purchase goods they didn’t want or need. The Waste Makers: A Startling Revelation of Planned Obsolescence (1960), The Naked Society (1964), and The People Shapers (1965) were among the works that followed (1977). Packard was a member of a long line of critics of capitalist culture, stretching from John Ruskin and William Morris in the nineteenth century to Naomi Klein in the twenty-first.


Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.

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