Anti-consumerism is a sociopolitical ideology that is opposed to consumerism, the continual buying and consuming of material possessions. Anti-consumerism is concerned with the private actions of business corporations in pursuit of financial and economic goals at the expense of the public welfare, especially in matters of environmental protection, social stratification, and ethics in the governing of a society. In politics, anti-consumerism overlaps with environmental activism, anti-globalization, and animal-rights activism; moreover, a conceptual variation of anti-consumerism is post-consumerism, living in a material way that transcends consumerism.
Anti-consumerism arose in response to the problems caused by the long-term mistreatment of human consumers and of the animals consumed, and from the incorporation of consumer education to school curricula; examples of anti-consumerism are the book No Logo (2000) by Naomi Klein, and documentary films such as The Corporation (2003), by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, and Surplus: Terrorized into Being Consumers (2003), by Erik Gandini; each made anti-corporate activism popular as an ideologically accessible form of civil and political action.
The criticism of economic materialism as a dehumanizing behaviour that is destructive of the Earth, as human habitat, comes from religion and social activism. The religious criticism asserts that materialist consumerism interferes with the connection between the individual and God, and so is an inherently immoral style of life; thus the German historian Oswald Spengler (1880–1936) said that "Life in America is exclusively economic in structure, and lacks depth." From the Roman Catholic perspective, Thomas Aquinas said that "Greed is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things"; in that vein, Francis of Assisi, Ammon Hennacy, and Mohandas Gandhi said that spiritual inspiration guided them towards simple living.
From the secular perspective, social activism indicates that from consumerist materialism derive crime (which originates from the poverty of economic inequality), industrial pollution and the consequent environmental degradation, and war as a business. About the societal discontent born of malaise and hedonism, Pope Benedict XVI said that the philosophy of materialism offers no raison d'être for human existence; likewise, the writer Georges Duhamel said that "American materialism [is] a beacon of mediocrity that threatened to eclipse French civilization".
Anti-consumerism originated from criticism of consumption, starting with Thorstein Veblen, who, in the book The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899), indicated that consumerism dates from the cradle of civilization. The term consumerism also denotes economic policies associated with Keynesian economics, and the belief that the free choice of consumers should dictate the economic structure of a society (cf. producerism).
Many anti-corporate activists believe the rise of large-business corporations poses a threat to the legitimate authority of nation states and the public sphere. They feel corporations are invading people's privacy, manipulating politics and governments, and creating false needs in consumers. They state evidence such as invasive advertising adware, spam, telemarketing, child-targeted advertising, aggressive guerrilla marketing, massive corporate campaign contributions in political elections, interference in the policies of sovereign nation states (Ken Saro-Wiwa), and news stories about corporate corruption (Enron, for example).
Anti-consumerism protesters point out that the main responsibility of a corporation is to answer only to shareholders, giving human rights and other issues almost no consideration. The management does have a primary responsibility to their shareholders, since any philanthropic activities that do not directly serve the business could be deemed to be a breach of trust. This sort of financial responsibility means that multi-national corporations will pursue strategies to intensify labor and reduce costs. For example, they will attempt to find low wage economies with laws which are conveniently lenient on human rights, the natural environment, trade union organization and so on (see, for example, Nike).
An important contribution to the critique of consumerism has been made by French philosopher Bernard Stiegler, arguing modern capitalism is governed by consumption rather than production, and the advertising techniques used to create consumer behaviour amount to the destruction of psychic and collective individuation. The diversion of libidinal energy toward the consumption of consumer products, he argues, results in an addictive cycle of consumption, leading to hyper consumption, the exhaustion of desire, and the reign of symbolic misery.
In art, Banksy, influential British graffiti master, painter, activist, filmmaker and all-purpose provocateur has made statements in public works about the consumerist society. Working undercover, the secretive street artist challenges social ideas and goads viewers into rethinking their surroundings, to acknowledge the absurdities of closely held preconceptions. Quote from Banksy: “You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.” After 2003, Banksy wrote the New Yorker by e-mail: “I give away thousands of paintings for free. I don’t think it’s possible to make art about world poverty and trouser all the cash.” Banksy believes that there is a consumerist shift in art, and for the first time, the bourgeois world of art belongs to the people. On his website, he provides high-resolution images of his work for free downloading.
It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.
Trying to reduce environmental pollution without reducing consumerism is like combating drug trafficking without reducing the drug addiction.
In many critical contexts, the term describes the tendency of people to identify strongly with products or services they consume, especially with commercial brand names and obvious status-enhancing appeal, such as a brand of expensive automobiles or jewelry. It is a pejorative term which most people deny, having some more specific excuse or rationalization for consumption other than the idea that they are "compelled to consume". A culture that has a high amount of consumerism is referred to as a consumer culture.
To those who embrace the idea of consumerism, these products are not seen as valuable in themselves, but rather as social signals that allow them to identify like-minded people through consumption and display of similar products. Few would yet go so far, though, as to admit that their relationships with a product or brand name could be substitutes for healthy human relationships that sometimes lack in a dysfunctional modern society.
The term and concept of conspicuous consumption originated at the turn of the 20th century in the writing of economist Thorstein Veblen. The term describes an apparently irrational and confounding form of economic behaviour. Veblen's scathing proposal that this unnecessary consumption is a form of status display is made in darkly humorous observations like the following:
It is true of dress in even a higher degree than of most other items of consumption, that people will undergo a very considerable degree of privation in the comforts or the necessaries of life in order to afford what is considered a decent amount of wasteful consumption; so that it is by no means an uncommon occurrence, in an inclement climate, for people to go ill clad in order to appear well dressed.
In 1955, economist Victor Lebow stated (as quoted by William Rees, 2009):
Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate.
According to archaeologists, evidence of conspicuous consumption up to several millennia ago has been found, suggesting that such behavior is inherent to humans.
Anti-consumerists believe advertising plays a huge role in human life by informing values and assumptions of the cultural system, deeming what is acceptable and determining social standards. They declare that ads create a hyper-real world where commodities appear as the key to securing happiness. Anti-consumerists cite studies that find that individuals believe their quality of life improves in relation to social values that lie outside the capability of the market place. Therefore, advertising attempts to equate the social with the material by utilizing images and slogans to link commodities with the real sources of human happiness, such as meaningful relationships. Ads are then a detriment to society because they tell consumers that accumulating more and more possessions will bring them closer to self-actualization, or the concept of a complete and secure being. "The underlying message is that owning these products will enhance our image and ensure our popularity with others." And while advertising promises that a product will make the consumer happy, advertising simultaneously depends upon the consumer never being truly happy, as then the consumer would no longer feel the need to consume needless products.
Anti-consumerists claim that in a consumerist society, advertisement images disempower and objectify the consumer. By stressing individual power, choice and desire, advertising falsely implies the control lies with the consumer. Because anti-consumerists believe commodities supply only short-term gratification, they detract from a sustainably happy society. Further, advertisers have resorted to new techniques of capturing attention, such as the increased speed of ads and product placements. In this way, commercials infiltrate the consumerist society and become an inextricable part of culture. Anti-consumerists condemn advertising because it constructs a simulated world that offers fantastical escapism to consumers, rather than reflecting actual reality. They further argue that ads depict the interests and lifestyles of the elite as natural; cultivating a deep sense of inadequacy among viewers. They denounce use of beautiful models because they glamorize the commodity beyond reach of the average individual.
In an opinion segment of New Scientist magazine published in August 2009, reporter Andy Coghlan cited William Rees of the University of British Columbia and epidemiologist Warren Hern of the University of Colorado at Boulder, saying that human beings, despite considering themselves civilized thinkers, are "subconsciously still driven by an impulse for survival, domination and expansion... an impulse which now finds expression in the idea that inexorable economic growth is the answer to everything, and, given time, will redress all the world's existing inequalities." According to figures presented by Rees at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, human society is in a "global overshoot", consuming 30% more material than is sustainable from the world's resources. Rees went on to state that at present, 85 countries are exceeding their domestic "bio-capacities", and compensate for their lack of local material by depleting the stocks of other countries.
Throughout the ages, various movements have tried to model alternatives to consumerism while remaining in the capitalist society. Intentional communities provide an example of this, as do monastic orders, barter movements and technology-driving sharing or exchange mechanisms. For instance, an intentional community called the Bruderhof has a system of sharing within the community, and no money is used by the members. The Bruderhof runs a successful manufacturing business that allows it to trade in the capitalistic society, but without the members indulging in consumerism.
Such anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist notions are not without their detractors. New thought and theory has spurred movements to alter world economic climate. Green movements and some other thinkers are opposed to the focus put on economics. The need for terminology has created familiar ideas such as carrying-capacity, and ecological footprint.
David Ricardo, an early economist, had ideas that state the finitude of growth, rather than the opposite; his ideas were similar to those of Mark Twain, when he said "Buy land, they don't make it anymore." To Ricardian logic, land was a limiting factor.
Some adherents to the Austrian economic philosophy advocate against consumerism due to its effect of contributing to "debt slavery." Austrian economic advocates focus on the entrepreneur, promoting a productive lifestyle rather than a materialistic one wherein the individual is defined by things and not himself.
Many have accused anti-consumerists of opposing modernity or utilitarianism. Right-wing critics see anti-consumerism as rooted in socialism. In 1999, the right-libertarian magazine Reason attacked anti-consumerism, claiming Marxist academics are repackaging themselves as anti-consumerists. James B. Twitchell, a professor at the University of Florida and popular writer, referred to anti-consumerist arguments as "Marxism Lite."
There have also been socialist critics of anti-consumerism who see it as a form of anti-modern "reactionary socialism", and state that anti-consumerism has also been adopted by ultra-conservatives and fascists.
In Fight Club, the protagonist, finds himself participating in terroristic acts against corporate society and consumer culture.
In Mr. Robot, Elliot Anderson, a young cybersecurity engineer, joins a hacker group known as fsociety, which aims to crash the U.S. economy, eliminating all debt.
In the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, the protagonist Patrick Bateman criticizes the consumerist society of America in the 1980s of which he is a personification. Later on he goes on a killing spree without any consequences, suggesting that the people around him are so self-absorbed and focused on consuming that they either don't see or don't care about his acts.
Anarchism is a small minority political movement in Iceland, defined by its relationship with other progressive social movements, and its involvement in primarily ideological work.Anarchism in Turkey
Anarchism in Turkey only began to emerge in 1986 with publication of the magazine Kara.Anarchism in Vietnam
Anarchism as a political movement in Vietnam started in the early twentieth century. Its most recognizable proponent was Phan Boi Chau.Anarchist law
Anarchist law is a hypothetical body of norms regarding behavior and decision-making that might be operative in an anarchist community. The term is used in a series of ongoing debates within the various branches of anarchist theory regarding if and how norms of individual and/or collective behavior, decision-making and actions should be created and enforced.Anarcho-naturism
Anarcho-naturism (also anarchist naturism and naturist anarchism) appeared in the late 19th century as the union of anarchist and naturist philosophies. In many of the alternative communities established in Britain in the early 1900s, "nudism, anarchism, vegetarianism and free love were accepted as part of a politically radical way of life". In the 1920s, the inhabitants of the anarchist community at Whiteway, near Stroud in Gloucestershire, "shocked the conservative residents of the area with their shameless nudity". Mainly, it had importance within individualist anarchist circles in Spain, France, Portugal and Cuba.Anarcho-naturism advocates vegetarianism, free love, nudism, hiking and an ecological world view within anarchist groups and outside them. Anarcho-naturism also promotes an ecological worldview, small ecovillages, and most prominently nudism as a way to avoid the artificiality of the industrial mass society of modernity. Naturist individualist anarchists see the individual in their biological, physical and psychological aspects and try to eliminate social determinations.Anti-authoritarianism
Anti-authoritarianism is opposition to authoritarianism, which is defined as "a form of social organisation characterised by submission to authority", "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom" and to authoritarian government. Anti-authoritarians usually believe in full equality before the law and strong civil liberties. Sometimes the term is used interchangeably with anarchism, an ideology which entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including the state system.Anti-statism
Anti-statism is opposition to state intervention into personal, social and economic affairs. Anti-statism means opposition to the state and any artificial form of government and it differs from traditional anarchism which means the opposition not only to the state, but to any form of rulership.Autarchism
Autarchism is a political philosophy that promotes the principles of individualism, the moral ideology of individual liberty and self-reliance. It rejects compulsory government and supports the elimination of government in favor of ruling oneself to the exclusion of rule by others.Citizen Fish
Citizen Fish is an English punk rock band that has been active since 1990 and shares members with Subhumans. Citizen Fish does not emphasize the raw political statements and nihilistic viewpoint of the former, instead focusing on issues of social alienation and human interaction, viewed through a more optimistic lens. Both bands deal with themes such as anti-consumerism and vegetarianism.Consumerism
Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. With the industrial revolution, but particularly in the 20th century, mass production led to an economic crisis: there was overproduction—the supply of goods would grow beyond consumer demand, and so manufacturers turned to planned obsolescence and advertising to manipulate consumer spending. In 1899, a book on consumerism published by Thorstein Veblen, called The Theory of the Leisure Class, examined the widespread values and economic institutions emerging along with the widespread "leisure time" in the beginning of the 20th century. In it Veblen "views the activities and spending habits of this leisure class in terms of conspicuous and vicarious consumption and waste. Both are related to the display of status and not to functionality or usefulness."In economics, consumerism may refer to economic policies which emphasise consumption. In an abstract sense, it is the consideration that the free choice of consumers should strongly orient the choice by manufacturers of what is produced and how, and therefore orient the economic organization of a society (compare producerism, especially in the British sense of the term). In this sense, consumerism expresses the idea not of "one man, one voice", but of "one dollar, one voice", which may or may not reflect the contribution of people to society.
In the almost complete absence of other sustained macro-political and social narratives—concern about global climate change notwithstanding—the pursuit of the 'good life' through practices of what is known as 'consumerism' has become one of the dominant global social forces, cutting across differences of religion, class, gender, ethnicity and nationality. It is the other side of the dominant ideology of market globalism and is central to what Manfred Steger calls the 'global imaginary'.Gustav Landauer
Gustav Landauer (7 April 1870 – 2 May 1919) was one of the leading theorists on anarchism in Germany at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. He was an advocate of social anarchism and an avowed pacifist. In 1919, during the German Revolution, he was briefly Commissioner of Enlightenment and Public Instruction of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic. He was killed when this Republic was overthrown.
Landauer is also known for his study of metaphysics and religion, and his translations of William Shakespeare's works into German.Iniciales
Iniciales was a Spanish individualist anarchist and naturist eclectic magazine which ran between 1929 and 1937.List of films dealing with anarchism
This article is for films both fictional and non-fictional which focus on anarchism, anarchist movements and/or anarchist characters as a theme.Pretty Persuasion (song)
"Pretty Persuasion" is a song by R.E.M. that was first released on the band's 1984 album Reckoning. It was released as a promotional single and reached number 44 on Billboard's Rock Tracks chart. According to R.E.M. biographer Tony Fletcher, it is often regarded as "the 'archetypal' R.E.M. anthem".Although not released commercially until 1984, R.E.M. performed "Pretty Persuasion" live in concert as early as 1980 and 1981. A live version of the song was recorded for the band's 1983 debut album Murmur but was not released on that album, although the recording was eventually included as a bonus track on a 1992 release of Reckoning. Producer Mitch Easter wanted to record the song again for Reckoning but the band, particularly lead singer Michael Stipe who no longer liked the song, was initially reluctant. They eventually agreed to a multi-track studio recording for Reckoning due to the popularity of the song live with fans.Allmusic critic Bill Janovitz describes the lyrics as "an anti-consumerism take on advertising." The song makes the point right away with the lines:
It's what I want
Hurry and buy
All has been tried
Follow reason and buy.As with many R.E.M. songs, the refrain, "He's got pretty persuasion/She's got pretty persuasion/God damn your confusion" is, as described by Fletcher, concise and repetitive. R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck has stated that the song was originally inspired by a dream Stipe had. In the dream, Stipe was photographing the Rolling Stones for the cover of their last single, which in the dream was entitled "Pretty Persuasion".The song begins with a guitar riff based on descending arpeggios. Easter has noted a musical similarity to Todd Rundgren's 1972 song "Couldn't I Just Tell You" and thinks the earlier song provided some inspiration for "Pretty Persuasion". Janovitz notes similarities with songs by The Byrds. These include the guitar riffs, which although played on two six-string guitars, produce an "electric-guitar jangle" similar to that achieved by The Byrds' Roger McGuinn on his 12-string Rickenbacker guitar. They also include the multi-track vocals by Stipe and bassist Mike Mills, which evoke The Byrds' vocal harmonies. However, the vocals on "Pretty Persuasion" are not precisely enunciated, making the lyrics difficult to decipher at times.Spin critics Eric Weisbard and Craig Marks described "Pretty Persuasion" as "a great rocker."In addition to being played live in the early portion of R.E.M.'s career, "Pretty Persuasion" was included in the live set as late as 2007 and 2008. Fletcher regards it as one of the songs that influenced R.E.M.'s 2008 album Accelerate. A live version from this tour was released on the 2009 live album Live at the Olympia. "Pretty Persuasion" has also been included on several of R.E.M.'s compilation albums, including The Best of R.E.M. in 1991 and And I Feel Fine... The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982–1987 in 2006.Rewilding (anarchism)
Rewilding means to return to a more wild or natural state; it is the process of undoing domestication. The term emerged from green anarchism and anarcho-primitivism. The central argument is that the majority of humans have been "civilized" or "domesticated" by agrarianism and sedentary social stratification. Such a process is compared to how dogs have been domesticated from what was a common ancestor with wolves, resulting in a loss in health and vibrancy. Supporters of rewilding argue that through the process of domestication, human wildness has been altered by force.Rewilding encourages the conscious undoing of human domestication and returning to the lifeways of some indigenous human cultures. Though often associated with primitive skills and learning knowledge of wild plants and animals, it emphasizes regenerative land management techniques employed by hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists, as well as development of the senses and fostering deepening personal relationships with members of other species and the natural world. Rewilding intends to create permanently wild human cultures beyond domestication.Rewilding is considered a holistic approach to living, as opposed to specific or separate skills, practices or knowledges.Stateless society
A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state, or, especially in common American English, has no government. In stateless societies, there is little concentration of authority; most positions of authority that do exist are very limited in power and are generally not permanently held positions; and social bodies that resolve disputes through predefined rules tend to be small. Stateless societies are highly variable in economic organization and cultural practices.While stateless societies were the norm in human prehistory, few stateless societies exist today; almost the entire global population resides within the jurisdiction of a sovereign state. In some regions nominal state authorities may be very weak and wield little or no actual power. Over the course of history most stateless peoples have been integrated into the state-based societies around them.Some political philosophies, particularly anarchism, consider the state an unwelcome institution and stateless societies the ideal.Thankyou Whoever You Are
"Thankyou Whoever You Are" and "Most Toys" are songs recorded by British neo-progressive rock band Marillion which appeared on their 14th studio album, Somewhere Else. They were released on a double A-side single in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands in June 2007. "Thankyou" is a slow, slightly orchestral ballad arranged in the band's trademark style. In stark contrast, "Most Toys" is simple, rocky and fast, with an anti-consumerism message. It has a running time of 2:49, the band's shortest recording to date (shorter even than the musically similar "Hooks in You" from 1989).
To maximize the purchase incentive for fans and spur potential chart success, the single came in three physical formats (including a PAL-only DVD) featuring different exclusive tracks each (including two non-album tracks), with the second A-side "Most Toys" only being available on two of them. In addition, live versions of both tracks were included in an iTunes download.
The single spent one week in the UK Singles Chart, reaching number 15 on 23 June 2007. This makes it the band's second biggest success in the two decades since the release of "Incommunicado" (1987) in terms of peak position. On the Dutch singles charts, the release was more successful, running three weeks and peaking at Number 6. In terms of peak position, this made it the band's biggest hit ever in that country, as even their otherwise most popular hits from the 1980s, such as "Kayleigh", "Lavender", and "Incommunicado", had not made the top ten there.
The DVD format contains an audio version of the Britney Spears dance-pop hit "Toxic" recorded live on an evening of cover versions during a 2007 fanclub convention in the Center Parcs holiday resort of Port Zelande, Ouddorp, Netherlands, in early February 2007.In total, "Thankyou Whoever You Are" marks Marillion's 35th and, as of 2013, last physical or digital single containing original material. For the three studio albums released since then, individual tracks have been used for promotional purposes (YouTube, radio airplay) but have not been made available for purchase.The Gospel According to Larry
The Gospel According to Larry is a "coming of age" political, romantic teen novel by Janet Tashjian that explores anti-consumerism. The introduction of the book is written from a point of view that makes it seem as though Josh Swensen is real and Janet Tashjian is simply the one who edited and published it. This quality gives the book a non-fiction feel.Émile Gravelle
Émile Gravelle (1855–1920) was a French individualist anarchist and naturist activist, writer and painter. He published the review L'État Naturel (1894–1898) and collaborated with Henri Zisly and Henri Beylie on La Nouvelle Humanité, Le Naturien (1898), Le Sauvage (1898–1899), L'Ordre Naturel (1905), and La Vie Naturelle (1907–1914). His ideas were important in individualist anarchist circles in France as well as Spain, where Federico Urales (pseudonym of Joan Montseny) promoted the ideas of Gravelle and Zisly in La Revista Blanca (1898–1905).