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In a capitalistic market society, all individuals should have an equal opportunity to participate, with varying extents, in consumerism. Democracy entitles one to political participation but people have come to value consumer participation as having more importance as shopping and the exchange of goods and services have become an important part of everyday living. Yet not everyone can participate in consumerism and they end up suffering, especially the children living in poverty. These children internalize the message that since they cannot participate in a society based on material consumption, they cannot belong. Poverty not only causes individuals to experience their lives differently, but also affects the development of one’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional identity. Many of the consequences of poverty have been scrutinized and studied to try to explain the experiences of such children. What has not been closely examined however is the relationship between the inability to participate in a consumer society and the bodily being, thoughts, actions, and feelings of impoverished children. I will discuss how these effects of poverty result in the inability of children to participate in society.



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