Personal Essay- Consumerism

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Chao Yi Wu
Professor Sean Thomas Gauthier
345-102-MQ Consumerism and its Discontents
28 September 2012
Personal Essay
As the consumption level and living quality keep increasing, most of us no longer need to worry about not having enough to eat and wear, so we start to consume in growing numbers. Therefore, a lot of us became so-called consumerists. After reading the book written by Annie Leonard, I got a clearer idea on the consumerist worldview, and I thought about how am I fitting in this consumer society as well.

First of all, we need to distinguish well the terms “consumption” and “consumerism” , because these are two completely different ideas. Consumption is the only way to meet our basic needs. Everyone does it, or else we cannot have the daily necessities, and the economy won’t run. There is nothing wrong with the consumption. What we are trying to discuss here is the consumerism. It is the worldview of all the consumerists. They tend to fulfill their emotional and social needs through consuming all kinds of stuff, and define people by what they own (Leonard, 145). “I am what I have” is a simpler way to say it. Consumerism is about excessive consumption(Leonard, 145). The omnipresent commercials are, without doubt, a huge factor that encourage us to consume more. The commercial companies are using all kinds of methods to show us their products, with only one intention: convince us to buy it. One of their most effective tricks is to make us believe that we will be happier or be more satisfied if we just buy this product. But is this true? No. In the end, it only proves that the human’s desires are insatiable. We always want more than we have: a better car, a bigger house, more clothes, a new cell phone. We are looking on their brand and price tag rather than their simplicity, functions and durability. Do we really need them? Absolutely not, we can totally live without all these, but still we are buying ceaselessly. Most of the items we buy will...
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