The Story of Stuff is a short movie created by Annie Leonard. She is accredited for writing and narrating the film. This film presents an animated documentary concerning the life cycle of material goods. The film advocates for sustainability through its critical vision of consumerist society. America is blamed of being the highest consumer from the movie. The gist of the movie is to avail the connections between a variety of social and environmental issues; it intends to achieve this through calling people together to facilitate a sustainable world. According to the movie, understanding of the social and environmental issues requires exploration of extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Notably, various scholars have also explored the problems associated with consumerism and some tend to agree with The Story of Stuff argument while other quarters refute the idea altogether. The score of the movie comes from the way it was presented, and the topics the filmmaker chose to explore. In other words, there is extensive truth in the theme of the movie as will be explicated in the essay. However, not all quarters support the theme behind the movie as they indicate that the movie abounds as anti-consumer and anti-American.


The first score of the movie abounds from the fact that it employs all means of the economy in exploring the problems of the system. These means used by the movie include extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. However, these should not be blamed alone because the government and corporations also contribute to the decay of the earth. A closer look at the material economy depicts that all these contribute to the destruction of the earth in one way or another (Magdoff & Foster, 2011). Other scholars also support this idea. If to observe it closely, depletion of resources occurs in the extraction process, production utilizes the use of chemicals, distribution promotes pollution, consumption is increasing at an alarming rate, and some things such as plastics are not well disposed. Mugenyi & Yves agree with The Story of Stuffs assertion that the material economy of distribution contributes to the wasting of the earth. These authors consider the car a doomed jalopy that is headed nowhere. From the article Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism, it can be deducted that cars contribute significantly to the earths depletion. The authors cite noise pollution as one way that cars erode the environment. This can be linked to The Story of Stuff effect of increased consumerism. Cars are made at a higher rate, and new models are launched every year. This is promoted by profit-centered corporations not minding the effects that these cars have on the environment.

Another score of The Story of Stuff abounds from the fact that the government, which earns from the earth, plays a small role in ensuring its sustainability (Leonard, 2007). The Story of Stuff indicates that the government is only focused on military as 50 percent of federal tax earnings are channeled to the military. Additionally, The Story of Stuff blames increased government debt on military spending. This is not sustainable because the money could be channeled to other sustainable ventures. This argument is a true assertion of what takes place every day around the globe. Notably, most countries around the globe have many people that cannot afford a decent meal across the day. Governments can employ effective measures to deal with the problem of hunger but instead they make security of their borders a significant priority. This argument connects with Magdoff & Foster (2011) argument relating to inequality as usual. These authors blame capitalism for continued inequality around the globe. They indicate that when those in higher positions of society continue to advance their benefit in the expense of the less fortunate, capitalism will prevail and the less fortunate will continue to suffer an indication of the governments failure regarding social security policies (Leonard, 2007).

The Story of Stuff is commendable on its exploration of the environment. The film indicates that there is massive destruction of natural forests, and this abounds from the fact that, thus far, only 20 percent of the natural forests remain. The film gives credibility to the aforementioned assertion through citing a report from Natural Resources Defense Council website and the Rainforest Action Network. This is a score on the film because other authors support this idea. For instance, Magdoff & Foster (2011) opine that economic growth is the worlds secular religion. This abounds from the fact that economies such as the United States undermine the community and the environment in their attempt to grow. This is caused by the need of such economies to create jobs, energy, and other resources, which promotes the destruction of natural forests. The problem is that even though there is an increased economic output per person, there is no increased satisfaction amongst people.

Some flaws of The Story of Stuff abound. A principal flaw is that the movie seems to promote an anti-American theme. This is because the filmmaker chose to use America as her case study, but her message is not received well by some quarters. For instance, Annie Leonard commences by providing an example of the United States military spending. She indicates that more than 50 percent of the federal tax money goes to the military. The author also cites the US as the largest consumer in the globe with only 5% of the worlds population. The author notes that almost half of the waterways in the United States are undrinkable, and lastly, she indicates how advertisers in the US target the entire population. Despite the fact that Leonard is providing real statistics relating to the matter at hand, she should not have focused her case study on one country. This makes her arguments seem to be centered on only one country, which makes some people think that she is criticizing the country. Other scholars on the matter do not agree with assertions entirely in regards to the US. Critics indicate that other parts of the globe also experience such problems and it is unfairly for the filmmaker to concentrate her attention on the United States only.

Another flaw of the film abounds from the fact that it is anti-consumer. This is because the filmmaker blames most of the environmental and social problems on consumerism. Notably, the filmmaker views that the materialistic economy has been motivated by consumerism. This is why she indicates that extraction happens at a higher rate because of the increased need for consumer goods (Humphery, 2013). However, she is trying to make the point that this increased consumerism leads to the destruction of the earth because resources are extracted at a higher rate. Another reason that makes the film anti-consumerist is the focus on advertisement. The filmmaker is against the increased number of advertisement, which she thinks promotes consumerism and makes the society specifically ads-targeted.

If too speak critically on the issue, some figures used in the film do not reflect the real deal. Critics consider Annie Leonard as having speculated and exaggerated some facts in order to market the movie through proving the severity of the effects. Another criticism of the movie is that it depicts as anti-capitalistic (Bowles, 2012). This abounds from the fact that Annie Leonard suggests capitalism plays a critical role in the destruction of the environment and society. Early Sociological theories do not support this idea because they indicate that capitalism ensures the continuity of society since if all people are equal production will not be possible. Additionally, the markets will not have goods for sale and people to buy goods or services.

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In conclusion, The Story of Stuff is a film created by Annie Leonard in an attempt to educate the world on the effects of material economy on the environment and social life. Annie Leonard utilizes several steps in advancing her point. These include extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. She advances various key points regarding material economy such as increase in military spending, increased consumerism, and logging of trees. Her success is evident on various fronts as mentioned earlier. For instance, the fact that there is increased logging, which has resulted in the depletion of 80 percent of the natural forests. Another success of the movie abounds from its criticism of the government, which increases military spending instead of taking care of the poor majority. The movie has flaws such as it depicts as anti-capitalistic. This is because it blames some of the earths problems on the persisting capital markets. Early sociological theorists who indicate that capitalism facilitates the functioning of the society refute this. Another flaw of the movie comes from its anti-American nature. The film utilizes many US case studies to pass its points across, which looks like as criticizing the country. Lastly, a flaw of the movie comes from its anti-consumerism nature. Annie indicates increased advertisements on the market and considers this fact unhealthy. However, advertising is necessary to facilitate sales.

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