Zeynep Ekin Türker
THE DISHONEST FACE OF CONSUMERISM
A statistic illustrates that in 1950, there is one car for every fifty people but in 2009, there are more than one car for every twelve people in America. This example demonstrates the increasing effect of consumerism by the end of the 20th century. According to Cambridge Dictionary, consumerism is the situation in which too much attention is given to buying andowning things. In the light of this definition, it can be concluded that consumerism usually leads to materialism since materialists claim that happiness can be increased through buying and spending as well . It is inevitable that there exist a dissidence between people about this issue. Authors like Juliet Schor, Annie Leonard and Danielle Todd support consumerism is a foe whereas Peter Saunders and James Twitchell, advocates the idea that consumerism is a friend. Consumerism has many negative outcomes like overspending, overworking, credit card debts, social and economic problems etc. These negative aspects of consumerism are in majority therefore consumerism is a foe. Consumerism is a foe since it causes overworking by triggering the insatiable nature of human. Each person aims to reach a good, qualified life and this ambition causes competition between people. As Annie Leonard mentions, we have become a nation of consumers (9). The reason behind this situation is exactly the competitive life circumstances, each person buys more and more to be the best. It is acknowledged that human has an insatiable nature by birth and the consumerist system triggers this stimulation substantially since people do not want to stay out of the competition. Todd states that consumers are well aware of the insatiable nature of consumerism, but recognize that in their society it is the only possible way to live (1). The most negative aspect of consumerism emerges at that point; since consumers can never be fulfilled with the goods they consume there occurs a circle which tucks people into a trap. The empty and miserable consumers buy more and more goods with the hope of finding fulfillment and reaching the best. For instance, a young man buys an Iphone 4 and just three months later he sees his friend’s Iphone 5 and decides to buy an Iphone 5 immediately for reaching his friend’s level . To purchase more, this man obliged to work exceedingly so his life passes with heavy working conditions. According to Leonard, this situation creates a crazy work-watch-spend treadmill (13). This circle damages people’s lives since it is almost impossible to get rid of this circle because of the unsatisfied nature of human. With the existence of this circle, people turn into robots, they cannot think anything except money, working and shopping. Eventually, people’s psychological and physical healths are damaged because of stress, they become tired, they do not have individual times, they do not have any hobbies, they drift apart from nature and get stuck into shopping malls etc. Briefly, it can be said that consumerism is a foe since it triggers the unsatisfied nature of people and ensnare their lives with the work-watch-spend circle. Advertisements cause the problem of overspending which is the most mischievous outcome of consumerism. Advertisements have seven functions like identifiying brands, supplying information, persuasion previewing new trends etc. but persuasion is the best function which is related with consumerism. Advertisements and consumerism definitely have a positive correlation since powerful and visual advertising directs consumers to purchase goods and services. As Juliet Schor states, it can be said that the growing importance of television causes consumerism (1). It demonstrates that people who watch TV are more inclined to purchasing more. Schor also asserts that an avarage level of TV watching of 15 hours a week equals nearly $3,000 per year (1). So it can be concluded that...
Cited: Leonard, Annie. “The Story of Stuff.” Free Range Studios, 2007. 20 Aug. 2009. Web.
21. Insider Online. The Insider Heritage Foundation, Apr. 2008. Web.
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