On Consumerism

On Consumerism

Consumerism is the belief that the acquirement of many goods and services is beneficial to the economy, which is true at least to a degree, given that there are many jobs that require constant and repetitive consumption in order to make money, as there are many jobs that finance people by selling things which aren’t necessary for a life of satisfaction and happiness.

In other words, while the culture of consumerism is necessary for the sustainability of people who provide goods which are beyond necessity, it’s not necessary for people to be in a constant state of unnecessary shopping “crusades”. Consumerist culture is therefore more contributive to the sellers rather than the buyers, as without the activity of unnecessary shopping across trading centers worldwide, a lot of people would be fired from their jobs due to companies and corporations losing more money than gaining it, so in order to minimize the losses, firing employees is, at times, unfortunately inevitable.

The question that follows is whether or not we, the consumerists, responsible for those who provide us unnecessities, and the answer is, of course, no, because we live in a world that is largely built on free-market economies, which then leads to struggle and competition between the various providers.

Consumerism has not blurred that state of want and need. It is, rather, the conformity and the herd mentality which leads to the false blurriness between desire and necessity. There is nowadays the notion that we “ought” to be “like everyone else” in the meaning that we “need” to be accepted as normal within our social circles, which in turn leads to the peer pressure of buying unnecessities — to fit in.

In addition, the way most of us use language is also a factor in the blurriness of need and want, in order to convince others and to be convinced by others that we “must” do something, or “really need” to buy something, in order to make our lives ones that have been well-lived, which is, practically, up to interpretation, as life can be lived in numerous ways.

That is also how clickbaits work — by telling us in the headline of an article or video that we need or must consume it, content creators encourage more traffic to their products, which in turn increases the financial sustainability of said products.

It’s all concludes on how much money product providers can make based on how much they and society convinces you to purchase and consume their products, and the usage of necessity, even if false, is often a good way to make money, by giving you a reason to do so, even if said reason is deceptive.

Consumerism is therefore important for people whose jobs is to sell you things you don’t need, and by convincing you that you “need” or “must” to have them, you increase at least for a bit, the duration of their positions in said jobs, making consumerist culture necessary for one category of people, but not for the customers, assuming said products are indeed unnecessary for a well-lived life.

For more information about desires and needs, check out this article.


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© 2019 Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosopher