NATION OF REBELS: Why Counter Culture Became Consumer Culture

Joseph Heath, Author, Andrew Potter, Author . HarperBusiness $14.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-074586-8

So-called rebellion not only perpetuates the market economy, it's the economy's biggest driving factor. So argue Canadian philosophy professors Heath and Potter; in their world, you can't "sell out" or be "co-opted," because you're already participating in the market, where rebellion is just another word for relentless innovation, fashion and cool. With sharp humor, the two make a solid case for consumerism being motivated by competitiveness rather than conformity, while pointing out the hypocrisies and shortcomings of "alternative" lifestyles, like the fascination with ancient non-Western medicine as somehow nobler and purer than modern science. Their theoretical underpinnings range from critiques of Freud to French postmodernism, and they layer their philosophical arguments with personal experience (though the use of "I" without identifying the writer as either Heath or Potter becomes irritating). The authors tear into veterans of the '60s counterculture repeatedly, and blaming the "all or nothing" approach of would-be radicals who drop out for holding back progress. The arguments are familiar, but Heath and Potter's sustained scrutiny of the premises from a market perspective freshens them. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 12/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-06-074585-1
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