top-rated free essay

consumerism

By luzma Mar 16, 2014 882 Words

Consumerism in Our Society: Balancing the Equation
Consumerism is the introduction of the unnecessary consumption of goods that aren’t needed. Advertising is leading us to purchases of highly replaceable products that are unnecessary, perishable with the only purpose of continuing the mass production of goods within an industry. However, it is important to address that consumerism is necessary because we have real necessities to survive. As an example, food and clothing. Consumerism is a form of stimulation with the outcome being the creation and sale of more products. Big corporations are using advertising as a means to make us feel connected to their products and the target market group who purchase the same products. We concede that everyone has to consume certain products or services to survive, and in this a natural way to satisfy the essential necessities of life. This essay will explore consumerism in our society analyzing the negative and positive effects to demonstrate the necessity and importance of a balanced consumption in regards of people’s relationships, their happiness and depression.

The majority of people in society believed that they have the necessity to buy goods that they don’t need, regardless if the consequence is a massive debt burden. People have an impulsive need that is leading them to a compulsive buying of unnecessary goods. Benjamin Barber, in his essay “Overselling Capitalism with Consumerism” discusses that the problems in the economy is related to an irrational consumerism that is creating fictitious needs while suppressing genuine needs, resulting in the destruction of capitalism essential character. He states, “This is capitalism’s all-too-logical way of solving the problem of too many goods chasing to few needs. It makes consuming ubiquitous and omnipresent, turning shopping into an addiction facilitated by easy credit” (Barber 17). The most important characteristic of consumerism is the creation of an insatiable appetite that is leading us to consume goods, regardless of the consequences of the purchase. Society in general has morphed into a consumer society. For instance, people have become possessed to attain “the high” from consumer spending, regardless of the increasing debt burden they place on themselves. The proliferation of easy credit makes goods and services easily accessible. The intention of multinational corporations is to create a false need, therefore increased consumer spend. We already have all we need, but still we are craving “the rush” of the next purchase. Big corporations fool people in order to make them believe that they need certain products and that they could not survive without them. Consumerism has wider implications to society as a whole because of the pressure on the individuals to pay of their debts that is not sustainable. If this problem is not addressed correctly, depression and family disintegration will be the outcome. However, if we make conscious decisions on the purchases and the debt we are acquiring, we can balance our consumerist society.

People’s happiness is directly related with the amount and brand of goods they are buying. The correlation of consumerism and happiness is demonstrating that people who are buying more and brand products are happier than the ones who don’t buy them. Siegfried Zepf, in his article “Consumerism and Identity: Some Psychoanalytical Considerations” explains that commodities have their own identities, and when individuals are buying these commodities their identities are transformed developing an intangible wanting values for goods, disregarding their conducive value. He states, “Commodities are no longer offered solely as a means of meeting certain material requirements; they are now advertised to satisfy needs that are independent of their material usability” (Zepf 145). The influence that advertising are playing in our minds are correlated with our shopping habits. Advertising is not explaining the product characteristics. It is trying to sell sensations that are directly associated with brand products. Because of the exposure we have on regards of advertising, it is nearly impossible to become immune of it. We have been influenced. The action of purchasing goods is associated with ideas such as, being admired and successful, having freedom and status. Also, it is making us being part of a specific social group. It is absurd to attain a massive debt in order to “show off” that we possessed social status. It is important to understand that happiness is independent of the brands we are buying. At the end, happiness is unrelated with the goods we possessed. Additionally, Zepf asserts that “In their child’s development, today’s consumers were obviously dismissed into an object world in which they could not engage in emotional and stable intersubjective relations” (Zepf 147).

Consumerism is unbalancing society, debilitating values, and allowing immature behaviors in adults. While consuming, we are losing stability and values leading us to a childish behavior in adults. Benjamin Barber, in his article “Shrunken Sovereign Consumerism, Globalization, and American Emptiness” discusses that the lost of democracy is caused by consumerism and globalization, it is converting citizens into compulsive buyers with a careless and childish behavior disregarding the consequences of their acts. He states, “Consumerist capitalism, defined by an ethos of infantilization conducive to laxity, impetuousness, narcissism, and consumption” (Barber 74).

In addition, Barber asserts that “Private choices inevitably do have social consequences and public outcomes … Such private choices, though technically ‘free’, are quite literally dysfunctional with respect to our values and norms” (Barber 75).

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • consumerism

    ...Saleshni Chandra Ms. Ina Gard English 1A 09-24-14 Effects of Consumerism on Economy. Consumerism is becoming the hallmark of most world economies. In the West, it is a common phenomenon, but now even developing countries in the world are resorting to it. It has become a latest trend not in young generation but also in adulthood. Cons...

    Read More
  • Consumerism

    ...In contemporary American culture, consuming is as authentic as it gets. Advertisements, getting a bargain, garage sales, and credit cards are firmly entrenched pillars of our way of life. We shop on our lunch hours, patronize outlet malls on vacation, and satisfy our latest desires with a late-night click of the mouse.1 Yet for all its popul...

    Read More
  • Consumerism

    ...The Effects of Consumerism Posted by Amitabh Shukla on July 2, 2009 in World Economy Consumerism is becoming the hallmark of most world economies. In the West, it is a common phenomenon, but now even developing countries in the world are resorting to it. Consumerism refers to the consumption of goods at a higher rate. The economy is judge...

    Read More
  • Consumerism and Happiness

    ...Richard A. Thompson Professor Heather Williams English 102 27 October 2013 Consumerism and Happiness In modern day society our entire economy is based upon a consumerist system in which people seek happiness through constant expansion of their material standard of living. In consumerism, people are driven to consume by two processes; th...

    Read More
  • Consumerism in America

    ... Consumerism in America Derane Walton January 7, 2013 Consumerism in America Consumerism is assumed to be the basic pattern for the modern lifestyle in the USA. Some researchers even compare it with a kind of belief. It is essential to explore the nature of this phenomenon, including its development and the contemporary sit...

    Read More
  • Consumerism: Brand and Good Consumption Mentality

    ...Consumerism has overtaken modern life. What problems can this situations cause, and how can these problems be solved? Evaluate your solutions. From the nineteenth century, consumption in modern economies has been dominance gradually and has overtaken modern life. Sociologists recognise that ‘shopping and consuming has now become a ma...

    Read More
  • Consumerism and Environment

    ...HOW CONSUMERISM AFFECTS THE ENVIRONMENT 1. Firstly, I will give an introduction about consumerism and its evolution throughout time and, to get a general picture of the subject, I will try to present different views on consumption, that is to say, advantages /disadvantages or pros and cons of consumerism 2. Afterwards, Ill focus o...

    Read More
  • Youth Consumerism

    ...YOUTH CONSUMERISM ABSTRACT : “The future is not in the sun, moon, stars or other planets, it’s in our youth.” Thought by thought, action by action they are the pioneers sculpting future of our country. Youth remain no longer conservative but they are swept by the changes in globalization. Kites rise not with, but against the wind and t...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.