Is there a difference between being a citizen and being a consumer? Does it matter?

I was told by my son's teachers that his school couldn't emphasize the tools of a citizen life during the school day because rigorous national and state standards left little time for "extras." Then one day he came home with an extracurricular economics booklet that defined him, my wife and I, and his sister not as citizens, but as consumers. Not as human beings who in the course of their citizen day might have consumer interests and behaviors, but, definitively, as consumers, a way of seeing Self, Other and the Group from which everything else sprung. Of course, we experience this way of describing ourselves from lots of outlets, everyday.

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