From George Monbiot's impassioned by depressing latest column in The Guardian (which has the world's greatest op-ed lineup, I think):
in its practical effects, consumerism is a totalitarian system: it permeates every aspect of our lives. Even our dissent from the system is packaged up and sold to us in the form of anti-consumption consumption, like the "I'm not a plastic bag", which was supposed to replace disposable carriers but was mostly used once or twice before it fell out of fashion, or like the lucrative new books on how to live without money.
George Orwell and Aldous Huxley proposed different totalitarianisms: one sustained by fear, the other in part by greed. Huxley's nightmare has come closer to realisation.