I have talked to some friends after reading a book on materialism and I have a
This is a great question touching on many deep issues. Much empirical research shows the incredible extent to which we are manipulable, and manipulated, by marketing. The degree to which this happens to us without our knowledge, w/o our explicit consent, etc., is the degree to which this may be morally objectionable. Now you may be right in suggesting that our decisions are not (entirely) without our consent -- often we are quite conscious of our decision-making process, no one forces you to go into a store or online, etc., and in the end we must take responsbiility for our behaviors etc. But when you read about how thoroughly manipulated we are by advertising, marketing, not to mention social pressure, you may start to feel differently. I'd recommend the work of Dan Ariely, to start -- in particular his bestseller Predictably Irrational ...