Draft - Cultural Studies - Consumerism

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First things first, consumerism is not new; it may only be during the last decade that the PoundStore has become an everyday occurrence on our high street, raising awareness that things can be bought at a discount, thus uncovering the lust some of the population have to own something better than you do. It actually started as early as the first civilizations, the likes of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome; as there remains evidence that societies purchased things well in excess of their basic needs. That evidence can be found in remains and paintings that depict food staggered in bulk, slaves and servants surrounding those in power and control, marbles statues, exotic spices, silks and a world of varied philosophies, that all flowed to the mouth of the Tiber and up to the heart of Rome long before anything was mass produced. Consumerism has proved it can be beneficial to the economy, when there is a demand for things, of that there is no denying, If you fast forward to the industrial revolution, when products were produced upon a huge scale, and things became more affordable to the everyday civilian, mass production resulted in mass consumption, all of which aided the economy of the time. So as the demand increases so does production, which accordingly creates numerous jobs. That said it creates a strong a negative opinion as it does positive. You, as the consumer, have now become more aware of the specification of a product long before you come to purchase it, as it is now that easy to find and access that information, whether this be done via the internet or in store, and you now have a higher demand on the quality of the things you purchase, the decision of “which one do I get?” has now become more complex than ever. Today consumerism is as big an issue as ever, and one that everyone talks about, whether it’s realized or not, such is its scale. The main objective of me writing this essay is to identify what motivates consumers to make their purchase? We know that it’s quality that is sought, but is the quality they seek, actually in the form or function of a product? Do they even want them for those reasons at all? Where does simply being a collector of things come in all this? I recently finished reading the autobiography of Corey Taylor, well, It took me nearly 6 months so I’m going to mention it one way or another, I was compelled to read this because he’s one of the few people in the world who wouldn’t cry bullshit if I told him things from my childhood. In his book Corey mentions his movie collection, “I have so many movies that many are still in the plastic. I have so many I forget what movies I have and rebuy them and end up giving the old ones away. I have so many movies that I sometimes keep multiple copies because there are different versions. I have around 12 different version of Reservoir Dogs: I have the regular one, all the different colour tenth anniversary editions, the special edition GasCan package that was released for the fifteenth anniversary, and the Blu-ray version. If I am anything, I am a collector and an enthusiast. But here is my question: What is the difference between greed and collecting? Where does fandom end and fanaticism begin?” (C.Taylor, p.162) - I thought I had a lot of DVDs having nearly 300. Since consumerism originated, sections of the public have actively sought an alternative lifestyle, there are those who simply refuse to justify the ‘form’ when you can get the ‘function’ at a fraction of the cost. The commitment of the anti-consumer commitment can range in a scale from moderate "simple living" to “Freeganism”. However, at the same time, you have the “you get what you pay for” crowd, who will always pay more, believing they get more. This increased payment towards goods doesn’t merely cover a persons desire to have a better item, or even a brand name item, as it is my belief that the purchase isn’t actually for their own benefit, it’s for yours. Some consumers derive pleasure...
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