Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts
Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts. The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting with Thorstein Veblen. Veblen’s subject of examination, the newly emergent middle class arising at the turn of the twentieth century, comes to full fruition by the end of the twentieth century through the process of globalization. In this sense, consumerism is usually considered a part of media culture.
Sometimes, the term “consumerism” is also used to refer to the consumerists movement, consumer protection or consumer activism, which seeks to protect and inform consumers by requiring such practices as honest packaging and advertising, product guarantees, and improved safety standards. In this sense it is a movement or a set of policies aimed at regulating the products, services, methods, and standards of manufacturers, sellers, and advertisers in the interests of the buyer.
In economics, consumerism refers to economic policies placing emphasis on consumption. In an abstract sense, it is the belief that the free choice of consumers should dictate the economic structure of a society (cf.Producerism, especially in the British sense of the term).
The term “consumerism” was first used in 1915 to refer to “advocacy of the rights and interests of consumers” (Oxford English Dictionary) but in this article the term “consumerism” refers to the sense first used in 1960, “emphasis on or preoccupation with the acquisition of consumer goods” (Oxford English Dictionary).
Consumerism, no less than any cult or religion, has the power to level individual difference and independence and render citizens into a homogeneous mass. Advertising companies, celebrity spokespersons, movies and TV shows conspire to render the consumer object – be it a $2 ice cream cone or an $80,000 luxury sedan – into a fetish imbued with magical, if not downright divine, powers. (Consumerism also has its rituals and its holy days, most notably Black Friday itself.) Tirdad Derakhshani
In the 21st century, happiness is equated to consumption, and consumption has become an imperative that has all but replaced the moral imperative issued by teachers from Abraham
Taught as a value: More, Newer, Better. The more you spend, the more patriotic you are.
After World War II, consumer spending no longer meant just satisfying an indulgent material desire. In fact, the American consumer was praised as a patriotic citizen in the 1950s, contributing to the ultimate success of the American way of life. “The good purchaser devoted to ‘more, newer and better’ was the good citizen,” historian Lizabeth Cohen explained, “since economic recovery after a decade and a half of depression and war depended on a dynamic mass consumption economy.”
The almighty impulse
One culprit may be unending demand on our self-control, says Florida State University social psychologist Roy Baumeister, PhD. Like a muscle that tires after too much use, taking on too many willpower-taxing tasks depletes our resources, and we have trouble succeeding at any of them, according to research by Baumeister in the Journal of Consumer Research (Vol. 28, No. 4).
“When there are too many other new demands on your time–when you’re under stress, meeting deadlines at work, dealing with a difficult relationship–you’re going to be at risk for spending more,” he says.
Credit cards further undermine our willpower, says Los Angeles clinical psychologist and wealth consultant James Gottfurcht, PhD. Before the deregulation of credit-card interest rates in 1978, only wealthier consumers qualified for a credit card. Now the credit-card industry begins soliciting consumers in high school, offering credit often at very high interest rates without requiring financial qualifications or providing guidance in how the cards should be used, says Gottfurcht, co-author of “Blueprint for Success” (Insight Publishing, 2008).
“They’re conditioning people into building debt at a very young, vulnerable age,” he says.
To make matters worse, psychological research shows that credit cards condition us to give in to impulses. A Journal of Consumer Research (Vol. 13, No. 3) study by Purdue University psychologist Richard A. Feinberg, PhD, shows that simply alerting consumers to the fact that an establishment accepts credit cards–by displaying a Visa or MasterCard insignia in the store window–makes them more likely to make a purchase. The findings were true even if the consumer did not use a credit card, Feinberg notes.
“In patience posses your souls”
Truth never goes on sale
Because in the kingdom of God, the customer isn’t always right. If fact they are almost always wrong.