Józef Tischner was a well-known contemporary Polish philosopher. While reading his 1993 book, Nieszczęsny dar wolności (The Unfortunate Gift of Freedom) I found this description of consumerism in an unexpected place: in relation to communist rule.
What then is communist rule?Its distinguishing mark was not that it provided more opportunity for consumption but that it embodied and expressed the very essence of consumerism. Everything that exists is material for use and to be utilized. In the lead of values for use and to be utilized stands power. “To have power” meant: “to use power”. And “to use power” meant: to allow yourself to be used and to know how to use others. Human being is internally empty. That which is in him, his ‘socialized being’ is also for use and to be utilized. We are cogs inside a self-utilizing machine. The essence of power is the power of consumption that is continuously changing into the consumption of power itself.source: translated from Nieszczęsny dar wolności”
[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Jan 08, 2007 ]