The problem of consumerism in american society

Such consumption beyond minimal and basic needs is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, as throughout history we have always sought to find ways to make our lives a bit easier to live.

The problem of consumerism in american society

If you like this publication, you'll also love our new one - The Life Trap - click here to check it out! Text version Introduction Consumerism is one of the strongest forces affecting our lives in the modern world.

You are here

In this booklet, we will explore the power of consumerism, how it manifests itself in our lives and the effects it has on us. Advertising Every day, each of us is bombarded with around 1, commercial messages. This sounds like a massive number, but when you think about a typical day in your life it is quite possible.

A typical day might feature the following activities — get up, read the paper featuring advertisementslisten to the radio advertisementscatch the bus to work advertisements on the bus and at the roadsidearrive at work advertisements on the internetgo home same advertisements as on the incoming journeywatch TV advertisements and go to bed.

Needless to say, this is exposure to a lot of advertisements! Over one third of the paper consists of advertisements! This does not include the full page specifically devoted to classified ads, an entire section sponsored by a company, the prominent product logos in the sports section or the other product placements that are included in many of the articles themselves.

We are exposed to advertising through a range of different sources. Some of them we may be aware of like the examples listed above but others may be less easy to spot, such as product placement in films.

For example, a James Bond film might feature lead characters using mobile phones made by a particular manufacturer who has paid a handsome sum to make them do this.

As a result of this placement, sales of the product increased by sixty five per cent. Placement has now become so common that some films are being criticised for becoming little more than vehicles for a range of products.

Despite occasional criticism however, product placement remains widespread — in films, TV programmes, magazines and other media.

So, commercial messages even affect how we are entertained. But it goes further than this.

Consumerism is a force from the marketplace which destroys individuality and harms society. It is related to globalization and in protest against this some people promote the " anti-globalization movement ". The effects of the way things are produced and consumed today have impacts all around the world. Today’s consumption is a major cause of environmental degradation. It is also a backbone to globalization in its current form and this often maintains disparities between the rich and poor. 14 articles on “Consumption and Consumerism” and 3 related issues: This section looks at the rise of the consumer and the development of the mass consumer society. While consumption has of course been a part of our history, in the last years or so, the level of mass consumption beyond basics has been exponential and is now a.

In other words, companies are attempting to recruit our friends and peers to sell us things — not simply influencing them to believe a product is desirable and telling us about it, but by actually paying people to use their status and relationships with others to flog their products to their peers.

This seems a rather cynical exploitation of human relationships and trust. This massive amount of advertising is now such a normal part of western society that most of us do not seem to realise just how pervasive it is in our lives.

As you go through your day tomorrow, notice the number of adverts you see and the sources from which they appear, and you will discover just how much of your valuable time and brain space advertisers are forcing themselves into. Although we may have stopped noticing just how much we are being bombarded by advertising, it is still affecting our decisions, our worldviews and our lives generally.

We will consider just how much later in this booklet. Consumerism — beyond advertising Advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. They could include the opinions of your friends, images from TV news programmes, advertisements on the internet and things you have learned from books or your education.

Some of the major sources of inputs can be illustrated as follows: This is not an exhaustive list, but even if we only consider a selection of these we can see that many of them promote and support consumerism.

For example, newspapers and magazines do not just contain pages of advertisements but also stories about new gadgets, new clothes, property, makeovers, travel and many other things, all suggesting that having them will make life more fun and interesting, bring you greater freedom or bring some other positive change to your life.

They may not promote an item directly like an advertisement but many will help to create desires and needs in the reader — some relating to specific products like cars or clothes and others relating to particular ways of life that require further money and consumption.

Our modern obsession with celebrities also means that newspapers and magazines publish stories about glamorous people we might aspire to copy, and much of this aspiration is to consume the same things as they do — from designer clothes to private jets.

Overarching all of this is a tendency in the mass media in the UK, at least to be unable or unwilling to question consumerism as an idea.

When this lack of critical thinking is accompanied by the promotion of consumerism that we have just been describing, this amounts to implicit support for it. Moreover, in their coverage of issues where consumerism could well be a major cause e. So it is not just the advertising within newspapers and magazines or indeed other media — from radio to the internet that promotes consumerism, but also much of their actual content.

This content might not only consist of features that directly create needs and desires in people but it might also include those that deal with topics that are apparently unrelated to consumerism that somehow still manage to give support to its vision of the world.

Leisure activity is another source of mental inputs. One example of a leisure activity that supports consumerism is sport — perhaps most notably football. Even at its most basic level — a kickabout in the park — the game is touched by consumerism. There is pressure on children and indeed adults!

At a higher level, football has become mired in consumerism and greed. Football and consumerism seem to have become intertwined, and the same thing is happening in many other sports, including rugby, cricket and tennis. A final example of a source of mental input is our family and peers, who can influence us in subtle ways.The advertising world’s reach in society has become wider than ever.

Because of its massive influence, lots of individuals today have this rampant need to own the latest in gadgets, clothing, appliances, services and vice versa. 14 articles on “Consumption and Consumerism” and 3 related issues: This section looks at the rise of the consumer and the development of the mass consumer society.

The problem of consumerism in american society

While consumption has of course been a part of our history, in the last years or so, the level of mass consumption beyond basics has been exponential and is now a. Negative effects of consumerism loading Number of consumers If everyone on earth lived like the average American we would need planets to support us.

for Japanese and about for Europeans. consumer class is very positive in the sense that it reflects that more people can enjoy the benefits of the consumer society. But it.

Nothing illustrates the problem of consumerism better in the United States than the growth in the average size of new houses since the early s. 1 From the s until the early s, the median size of a new home in the United States varied up and down.

The problem is that in , worldwide there were only hectares of ecologically productive land for each person. He concluded that the deficit is made up in core countries by drawing down the natural resources of their own countries and expropriating the resources, through trade, of peripheral countries.

consumerism affects society, the economy and the Environment. Consumerism is economically manifested in the chronic purchasing of new goods and services, with little attention to their true need, durability, product origin or the environmental consequences of manufacture and disposal.

Consumption and Consumerism — Global Issues