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CAPITALISM AND CONSUMERISM PORTRAYED IN

FIGHT CLUB
PROOF OF CONCEPT PRESENTATION

By Karolina Urlikyte
PROPOSED DISSERTATION ENQUIRY

 For my dissertation, I would like to explore and analyse the concept of capitalism and consumerism portrayed in
Fight Club as opposed to philosopher and sociologist Karl Marx’ idea of the capitalistic system. Nowadays
capitalism is considered as a well working system, however, in Marx’ work he foredooms the capitalistic system
which is characterized by the recurring economic depression.With the limitation of resources required to
produce the products on which consumerism depends on, the concept of capitalism eventually will collapse.

 My research will include the birth and concept of Marxism, the development of capitalism and its link to
consumerism followed by the influence of marketing/advertising on people’s consumer behaviour and the
common strategies used for the manipulation of the consumer. Furthermore, I will be discussing about the
differences between consumerism and capitalism since most of the time those are considered as “the same” thing.
The acquired pieces of information will be then of course used to deeper analyse the concepts of capitalism and
consumerism in Fight Club.
CHAPTER 3 CASE-STUDY

 For the third chapter I will be using, as the title of the dissertation already suggests, Fight Club as an example to
further analyse capitalism and consumerism in society and its impact on the people/consumer. I will be describing
Fight Club’s society and the economic situation in detail including how it ended up as portrayed and why people
are voluntarily joining ‘Project Mayhem’ to overthrow the current system. Is it due to the oppression and restraint
caused by the concept of capitalism? This question will be answered with the help of the acquired information of
the research from the former two chapters.
KEY THEMES/ISSUES

 What is capitalism?
 What is consumerism?
 Is capitalism any different from consumerism?
 What kind of marketing strategies do concerns and companies use to maintain a ‘healthy’ (healthy for
consumerism and therefor good for economy, but bad for consumer and ecosystem) consumerism?
 Why does Karl Marx consider capitalism as a failing concept/system?
 What is the problem?
 Is there a solution? Marxism/communism (Idealistic idea that only works in theory, but not practically)?
BOOKS
 Thorstein Velben – The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions
 - being one of the first people to criticize consumerism during the industrial evolution, Velben explains in his work the uselessness of
over-consumption during people' leisure time in terms of functionality and usefulness towards economy.

 Ha-Joon Chang – 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism


 - This book looks at capitalism with a critical eye, suggesting at the end how to rebuild the world economy (a potential solution for the
imperfect system). Provides a good comparison to the solution provided by Fight Club.

 Bodo B. Schlegelmilch – Global Marketing Strategy: An Executive Digest


 - This book provides basic and more in-depth knowledge about marketing strategies needed for my research.

 James Fulcher – Capitalism: A Very Short Introduction


 - provides a short introduction for capitalism which helps for the basic understanding of the term.

 Karl Marx – Das Kapital: A Critique of Political Economy


 - Information about the basic concept of Marxism, his view on capitalism and discussion about the foredoomed capitalistic system.
JOURNAL ARTICLES

 Matthias Zick Varul – Towards a consumerist critique of capitalism: A socialist defence of consumer culture
 - discussion about consumerism does not equal capitalism and a consumerist’s critique towards capitalism

 Jack Miller – Fight Club (1999): Consumerism & Capitalism


 - an analysis on consumerism and capitalism portrayed in Fight Club with quotations and examples from the
movie.

 Nikolai Christoffersen – Fight Club: A Commentary on the Crises of Capitalism


 - an analysis on different topics presented in Fight Club linked with capitalism.
WEBSITES

 52 Types of Marketing Strategies


 http://cultbranding.com/ceo/52-types-of-marketing-strategies/
 - for more accurate determination of most used and popular forms of marketing. Their strategies and how they
work. (why? Provides a good overview of many used strategies)

 Difference Between Capitalism and Consumerism


 http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/politics/ideology-politics/difference-between-capitalism-and-
consumerism/
 - definition of capitalism and consumerism with examples showing their differences. (why? Helps to further
understand the differences between consumerism and capitalism)
DOCUMENTARIES
 A history of capitalism in four short videos
 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32324875
 - short breakdown of the history of capitalism into its most important mile stones. Discussion about how much
should/can the government intervene with capitalism and how does capitalism look like today. (why? It is a good
short summary and overview of many points needed for the research)

 How Capitalism is Killing Itself


 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P97r9Ci5Kg
 - Dr. Richard D. Wolff, an American Marxian economist discusses about the basic idea of Marxism and the
foredoomed concept of the capitalistic system. (why? It is needed to support the understanding of the concept of
Marxism)
IMAGES

 Fig 1; why? It shows the


economic cycle. It Shows that
the capitalistic system will
always end up in a Trough
(economic depression).
 Fig 2; why? It shows the
manipulative concept of
consumerism placed into
people’s heads by smart
marketing and advertising.
 Fig 3; why? Capitalism and
consumerism shown visually in
the movie. The furniture is
shown with their individual
price tags and product
information.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (BOOKS)

 Veblen, T. (1899). The theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions. London: Macmillan.

 Chang, H. (2011). 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism. London: Penguin.

 Schlegelmilch, B. (2016). Global Marketing Strategy: An Executive Digest. Switzerland: Springer International
Publishing.

 Fulcher, J. (2015). Capitalism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 Marx, K. (1996). Das Kapital: A Critique of Political Economy. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing Inc.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (ARTICLES)

 Varul, M. (n.d.). Towards a consumerist critique of capitalism: A socialist defence of consumer culture. (online)
Available at: http://www.ephemerajournal.org/contribution/towards-consumerist-critique-capitalism-socialist-
defence-consumer-culture [Accessed 30 Jan. 2018]

 Miller, J. (2013). Fight Club (1999): Consumerism & Capitalism. (online) Available at:
https://jackwmillerfilm.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/fight-club-1999-consumerism-capitalism/ [Accessed 31 Jan.
2018]

 Christoffersen, N. (2016). Fight Club: A Commentary on the Crises of Capitalism. (online) Available at:
https://sites.williams.edu/engl117s16/uncategorized/81/ [Accessed 31 Jan. 2018]
BIBLIOGRAPHY (WEBSITES)

 Bueno, BJ.; Jeffrey, S. (2013). 52 Types of Marketing Strategies. (online) Available at:
 http://cultbranding.com/ceo/52-types-of-marketing-strategies/ [Accessed 01 Feb. 2018]

 Chakraborty, P. (2015). Difference Between Capitalism and Consumerism. (online) Available at:
 http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/politics/ideology-politics/difference-between-capitalism-and-
consumerism/ [Accessed 01 Feb. 2018]
BIBLIOGRAPHY (DOCUMENTARIES)

 A history of capitalism in four short videos. (online) Available at:


 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32324875 [Accessed 01 Feb. 2018]

 How Capitalism is Killing Itself. (online) Available at:


 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P97r9Ci5Kg [Accessed 29 Jan. 2018]
ILLUSTRATION LIST

 Figure 1, (online) Available at: https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-2ec8df4f76f865603f01c45527252141-c


[Accessed 31Jan. 2018]

 Figure 2, (online) Available at: https://content.acca.melbourne/uploads/2014/07/1440_shop-therefore-i-am.jpg


[Accessed 31 Jan. 2018]

 Figure 3, (online) Available at: http://cdn.ebaumsworld.com/mediaFiles/picture/1658316/83472488.jpg [Accessed


31 Jan. 2018]