The thesis is simple: The perceptions of consumerism in Chile are based on a mismatch between the current realities of the country and expectations based on a very different reality.
And this is based on a thesis even more simple: The Chile of the ’80s ( and before) as the country was downright poor. The country of the ’90s (and later) because it is not. To put it another way: The audio-visual equipment in 10 years went up a quintile full. The quintile V the lower income has better equipment than the quintile IV 10 years ago, and the same for the other quintiles. The same in, for example, higher education (the coverage of quintile V is greater that what was previously the highest quintile (IV). In other words, the group D current lives as 15-20 years ago it did the middle class.
But our images and perceptions about what is ‘normal consumption’ or ‘over-consumption’ are based in a reality quite poor. And therefore, on the one hand, we have what we consider normal is no longer so; and that-without a new set of expectations about what is normal for the new situation, only knowing that ‘more is possible’, it is easy to eat more of the account (Because the important topic of consumerism is that people believe that their own consumption, not only of the neighbor, are excessive).
On the difference of expectations, it is a matter of looking at children (up to 15 years, say people who are born from there is the Plaza Vespucio*). So for them it is normal, it will always be excessive for those who have experience of the country of the ’80s and the ’70s.
* The birth of the consumer society, if one believed in the concept of consumer society and would like to put milestones in the social development, can be placed in the Plaza Vespucio: the first time that the consumption of ‘modern’ comes out of the barrio alto.