In our capitalist society, businesses exist to maximize profit, and they do so with myriad marketing techniques. One of these, the ersatz community, is a false kinship between people who have little in common beyond their consumption habits and is a replacement for real communities built on interpersonal relationships. The coffee industry, beloved by many for providing a miracle drink to keep them from feeling the limits of their mortal bodies, uses this tactic to great effect: it allows consumers to be part of not just the coffee drinking community but also communities built upon brand recognizability, homogeny, elitism, and convenience, all pillars of consumerist society. Members of these communities take solace in being one of millions but have no true ties to their fellows. The drive to consume in the faithful adherents to capitalism ties them to the idea that consumption can fill the hollow voids of their souls. Especially the idea of “sustainability,” all-encompassing yet meaningless, says that consuming is the only way to save the world. This research reveals the ersatz communities used by the coffee industry, and their connection to the infinite capitalist drive for consumption.
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Kershner, Emilio, "Coffee: An Ersatz Community" (2023). Research Days Posters 2023. 43.