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.[1] 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.[2] 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."[3]

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).[4] 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'.[5]

Mall culture jakarta35
An electronics store in a shopping mall in Jakarta (2004)

Term

The term consumerism has several definitions.[6] These definitions may not be related to each other and confusingly, they conflict with each other.

  1. One sense of the term relates to efforts to support consumers' interests.[6] By the early 1970s it had become the accepted term for the field and began to be used in these ways:[6]
    1. Consumerism is the concept that consumers should be informed decision makers in the marketplace.[6] In this sense consumerism is the study and practice of matching consumers with trustworthy information, such as product testing reports.
    2. Consumerism is the concept that the marketplace itself is responsible for ensuring social justice through fair economic practices.[6] Consumer protection policies and laws compel manufacturers to make products safe.
    3. Consumerism refers to the field of studying, regulating, or interacting with the marketplace.[6] The consumer movement is the social movement which refers to all actions and all entities within the marketplace which give consideration to the consumer.
  2. While the above definitions were becoming established, other people began using the term consumerism to mean "high levels of consumption".[6] This definition has gained popularity since the 1970s and began to be used in these ways:
    1. Consumerism is the selfish and frivolous collecting of products, or economic materialism. In this sense consumerism is negative and in opposition to positive lifestyles of anti-consumerism and simple living.[6]
    2. Consumerism is a force from the marketplace which destroys individuality and harms society.[6] It is related to globalization and in protest against this some people promote the "anti-globalization movement".[7]

In a 1955 speech, John Bugas (number two at the Ford Motor Company) coined the term consumerism as a substitute for capitalism to better describe the American economy:[8]

The term consumerism would pin the tag where it actually belongs — on Mr. Consumer, the real boss and beneficiary of the American system. It would pull the rug right out from under our unfriendly critics who have blasted away so long and loud at capitalism. Somehow, I just can't picture them shouting: "Down with the consumers!"[9]

Bugas's definition aligned with Austrian economics founder Carl Menger's vision (in his 1871 book Principles of Economics) of consumer sovereignty, whereby consumer preferences, valuations, and choices control the economy entirely (a concept directly opposed to the Marxian perception of the capitalist economy as a system of exploitation).[10]

Vance Packard worked to change the meaning of the term consumerism from a positive word about consumer practices to a negative word meaning excessive materialism and waste.[11] The ads for his 1960 book The Waste Makers prominently featured the word consumerism in a negative way.[11]

History

Origins

The consumer society emerged in the late seventeenth century and intensified throughout the eighteenth century.[12] While some claim that change was propelled by the growing middle-class who embraced new ideas about luxury consumption and about the growing importance of fashion as an arbiter for purchasing rather than necessity, many critics argue that consumerism was a political and economic necessity for the reproduction of capitalist competition for markets and profits, while others point to the increasing political strength of international working-class organizations during a rapid increase in technological productivity and decline in necessary scarcity as a catalyst to develop a consumer culture based on therapeutic entertainments, home-ownership and debt. The "middle-class" view argues that this revolution encompassed the growth in construction of vast country estates specifically designed to cater for comfort and the increased availability of luxury goods aimed at a growing market. Such luxury goods included sugar, tobacco, tea and coffee; these were increasingly grown on vast plantations (historically by slave labor) in the Caribbean as demand steadily rose. In particular, sugar consumption in Britain[13] during the course of the 18th century increased by a factor of 20.

Critics argue that colonialism did indeed help drive consumerism, but they would place the emphasis on the supply rather than the demand as the motivating factor. An increasing mass of exotic imports as well as domestic manufactures had to be consumed by the same number of people who had been consuming far less than was becoming necessary. Historically, the notion that high levels of consumption of consumer goods is the same thing as achieving success or even freedom did not precede large-scale capitalist production and colonial imports. That idea was produced later, more or less strategically, in order to intensify consumption domestically and to make resistant cultures more flexible to extend its reach.[14][15][16][17]

Culture of consumption

This pattern was particularly visible in London where the gentry and prosperous merchants took up residence and created a culture of luxury and consumption that was slowly extended across the socio-economic divide. Marketplaces expanded as shopping centres, such as the New Exchange, opened in 1609 by Robert Cecil in the Strand. Shops started to become important as places for Londoners to meet and socialise and became popular destinations alongside the theatre. Restoration London also saw the growth of luxury buildings as advertisements for social position with speculative architects like Nicholas Barbon and Lionel Cranfield.

There was growth in industries like glass making and silk manufacturing, and much pamphleteering of the time was devoted to justifying private vice for luxury goods for the greater public good. This then scandalous line of thought caused great controversy with the publication of Bernard Mandeville's influential work Fable of the Bees in 1714, in which he argued that a country's prosperity ultimately lay in the self-interest of the consumer.[18]

Advertising plays a major role in creating a consumerist society, as goods are marketed through various platforms in nearly all aspects of life, pushing the message that the viewer's life is in need of some product. Consumerism is discussed in detail in the textbook Media in Everyday Life. The authors write, "Consumerism is deeply integrated into the daily life and the visual culture of the societies in which we live, often in ways that we do not even recognize" (Smulyan 266). She continues, "Thus even products that are sold as exemplifying tradition and heritage, such as Quaker Oats cereal, are marketed through constantly changing advertising messages" (Smulyan 266). Advertising changes with the consumer in order to keep up with their target, identifying their needs and their associations of brands and products before the viewer is consciously aware. Mediums through which individuals are exposed to ads is ever changing and ever growing, as marketers are always trying to get in touch with their audience, and adapts to ways to keep attention. For example, billboards were created around the time that the automobile became prevalent in society, and they were created to provide viewers with short details about a brand or a "catch phrase" that a driver could spot, recognize, and remember (Smulyan 273). In the 21st century there is an extreme focus on technology and digitization of culture. Much of the advertising is done in cohesive campaigns through various mediums that make ignoring company messages nearly impossible. Aram Sinnreich writes about the relationship between online advertisers and publishers and how it has been strengthened by the digitization of media, as consumer's data is always being collected through their online activity (Sinnreich 3). In this way, consumers are targeted based on their searches and bombarded with information about more goods and services that they may eventually need, positioning themselves as a need rather than a want.

Horse Frightened by a Lion by Josiah Wedgwood
Josiah Wedgwood's pottery, a status symbol of consumerism in the late 18th century

These trends were vastly accelerated in the 18th century, as rising prosperity and social mobility increased the number of people with disposable income for consumption. Important shifts included the marketing of goods for individuals as opposed to items for the household, and the new status of goods as status symbols, related to changes in fashion and desired for aesthetic appeal, as opposed to just their utility. The pottery inventor and entrepreneur, Josiah Wedgwood, noticed the way aristocratic fashions, themselves subject to periodic changes in direction, slowly filtered down through society. He pioneered the use of marketing techniques to influence and manipulate the direction of the prevailing tastes and preferences to cause his goods to be accepted among the aristocracy; it was only a matter of time before his goods were being rapidly bought up by the middle classes as well. His example was followed by other producers of a wide range of products and the spread and importance of consumption fashions became steadily more important.[19]

Mass production

The Industrial Revolution dramatically increased the availability of consumer goods, although it was still primarily focused on the capital goods sector and industrial infrastructure (i.e., mining, steel, oil, transportation networks, communications networks, industrial cities, financial centers, etc.).[20] The advent of the department store represented a paradigm shift in the experience of shopping. For the first time, customers could buy an astonishing variety of goods, all in one place, and shopping became a popular leisure activity. While previously the norm had been the scarcity of resources, the industrial era created an unprecedented economic situation. For the first time in history products were available in outstanding quantities, at outstandingly low prices, being thus available to virtually everyone in the industrialized West.

By the turn of the 20th century the average worker in Western Europe or the United States still spent approximately 80–90% of his income on food and other necessities. What was needed to propel consumerism proper, was a system of mass production and consumption, exemplified in Henry Ford, the American car manufacturer. After observing the assembly lines in the meat packing industry, Frederick Winslow Taylor brought his theory of scientific management to the organization of the assembly line in other industries; this unleashed incredible productivity and reduced the costs of all commodities produced on assembly lines.[21]

Consumerism has long had intentional underpinnings, rather than just developing out of capitalism. As an example, Earnest Elmo Calkins noted to fellow advertising executives in 1932 that "consumer engineering must see to it that we use up the kind of goods we now merely use", while the domestic theorist Christine Frederick observed in 1929 that "the way to break the vicious deadlock of a low standard of living is to spend freely, and even waste creatively".[22]

The older term and concept of "conspicuous consumption" originated at the turn of the 20th century in the writings of sociologist and 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.[23]

The term "conspicuous consumption" spread to describe consumerism in the United States in the 1960s, but was soon linked to debates about media theory, culture jamming, and its corollary productivism.

By 1920 most people [Americans] had experimented with occasional installment buying.[24]

In the 21st century

Dongmen
McDonald's and KFC restaurants in China

Madeline Levine criticized what she saw as a large change in American culture — "a shift away from values of community, spirituality, and integrity, and toward competition, materialism and disconnection."[25]

Businesses have realized that wealthy consumers are the most attractive targets of marketing. The upper class's tastes, lifestyles, and preferences trickle down to become the standard for all consumers. The not-so-wealthy consumers can "purchase something new that will speak of their place in the tradition of affluence".[26] A consumer can have the instant gratification of purchasing an expensive item to improve social status.

Emulation is also a core component of 21st century consumerism. As a general trend, regular consumers seek to emulate those who are above them in the social hierarchy. The poor strive to imitate the wealthy and the wealthy imitate celebrities and other icons. The celebrity endorsement of products can be seen as evidence of the desire of modern consumers to purchase products partly or solely to emulate people of higher social status. This purchasing behavior may co-exist in the mind of a consumer with an image of oneself as being an individualist.

Cultural capital, the intangible social value of goods, is not solely generated by cultural pollution. Subcultures also manipulate the value and prevalence of certain commodities through the process of bricolage. Bricolage is the process by which mainstream products are adopted and transformed by subcultures.[27] These items develop a function and meaning that differs from their corporate producer's intent. In many cases, commodities that have undergone bricolage often develop political meanings. For example, Doc Martens, originally marketed as workers boots, gained popularity with the punk movement and AIDs activism groups and became symbols of an individual's place in that social group.[28] When corporate America recognized the growing popularity of Doc Martens they underwent another change in cultural meaning through counter-bricolage. The widespread sale and marketing of Doc Martens brought the boots back into the mainstream. While corporate America reaped the ever-growing profits of the increasingly expensive boot and those modeled after its style, Doc Martens lost their original political association. Mainstream consumers used Doc Martens and similar items to create an "individualized" sense identity by appropriating statement items from subcultures they admired.

When consumerism is considered as a movement to improve rights and powers of buyers in relation to sellers, there are certain traditional rights and powers of sellers and buyers.[29]

Criticism

Overview

La2-buynothing
Buy Nothing Day demonstration in San Francisco, November 2000.
Shop Until You Drop by Banksy
Shop Until You Drop by Banksy, in London.

Since consumerism began, various individuals and groups have consciously sought an alternative lifestyle. These movements range on a spectrum from moderate "simple living",[30] "eco-conscious shopping",[31] and "localvore"/"buying local",[32] to Freeganism on the extreme end. Building on these movements, the discipline of ecological economics addresses the macro-economic, social and ecological implications of a primarily consumer-driven economy.

In many critical contexts, consumerism is used to describe the tendency of people to identify strongly with products or services they consume, especially those with commercial brand-names and perceived status-symbolism appeal, e.g. a luxury car, designer clothing, or expensive jewelry. Consumerism can take extreme forms - such that consumers sacrifice significant time and income not only to purchase but also to actively support a certain firm or brand.[33] As stated by Gary Cross in his book "All Consuming Century: Why Consumerism Won in Modern America", he states "consumerism succeeded where other ideologies failed because it concretely expressed the cardinal political ideals of the century -- liberty and democracy -- and with relatively little self-distructive behavior or personal humiliation" (Cross, 2). He discusses how consumerism won in its forms of expression.

Opponents of consumerism argue that many luxuries and unnecessary consumer-products may act as a social mechanism allowing people to identify like-minded individuals through the display of similar products, again utilizing aspects of status-symbolism to judge socioeconomic status and social stratification. Some people believe relationships with a product or brand name are substitutes for healthy human relationships lacking in societies, and along with consumerism, create a cultural hegemony, and are part of a general process of social control[34] in modern society. Critics of consumerism often point out that consumerist societies are more prone to damage the environment, to contribute to global warming and to use up resources at a higher rate than other societies.[35] Dr. Jorge Majfud says that "Trying to reduce environmental pollution without reducing consumerism is like combatting drug trafficking without reducing the drug addiction."[36]

In 1955, economist Victor Lebow stated:

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.[37]

Critics of consumerism include Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,[38] Pope Francis,[39] German historian Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), who said: "Life in America is exclusively economic in structure and lacks depth"[40]), and French writer Georges Duhamel (1884-1966), who held American materialism up as "a beacon of mediocrity that threatened to eclipse French civilization".[40] Pope Francis also critiques consumerism in his book "Laudato Si' On Care For Our Common Home." He critiques the harm consumerism does to the environment and states, "The analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work-related and urban contexts, nor from how individuals relate to themselves, which leads in turn to how they relate to others and to the environment." [41] Pope Francis believes individuals obsession with consumerism leads us farther away from our humanity and makes us forget the interrelated nature between ourselves and the environment. Francis Fukuyama blames consumerism for moral compromises.[42]

Another critic is James Gustave Speth. He argues that the growth imperative represents the main goal of capitalistic consumerism. In his book The Bridge at the Edge of the World he notes, “Basically, the economic system does not work when it comes to protecting environmental resources, and the political system does not work when it comes to correcting the economic system.”

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."[43] 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, which have a material surplus due to their lower consumption.[43] Not only that, but McCraken indicates that the ways in which consumer goods and services are bought, created and used should be taken under consideration when studying consumption.[44]

Furthermore, some theorists have concerns with the place commodity takes in the definition of one's self. Media theorists Straut Ewen coined the term "commodity self" to describe an identity built by the goods we consume.[45] For example, people often identify as PC or Mac users, or define themselves as a Coke drinker rather than Pepsi. The ability to choose one product out of an apparent mass of others allows a person to build a sense "unique" individuality, despite the prevalence of Mac users or the nearly identical tastes of Coke and Pepsi.[45] By owning a product from a certain brand, one's ownership becomes a vehicle of presenting an identity that is associated with the attitude of the brand. The idea of individual choice is exploited by corporations that claim to sell "uniqueness" and the building blocks of an identity. The invention of the commodity self is a driving force of consumerist societies, preying upon the deep human need to build a sense of self.

Not all anti-consumerists oppose consumption in itself, but they argue against increasing the consumption of resources beyond what is environmentally sustainable. Jonathan Porritt writes that consumers are often unaware of the negative environmental impacts of producing many modern goods and services, and that the extensive advertising-industry only serves to reinforce increasing consumption.[46] Likewise, other ecological economists such as Herman Daly and Tim Jackson recognize the inherent conflict between consumer-driven consumption and planet-wide ecological degradation.

Consumerism as cultural ideology

In the 21st century's globalized economy, consumerism has become a noticeable part of the culture.[47] Critics of the phenomenon not only criticized it against what is environmentally sustainable, but also the spread of consumerism in cultural aspects. However, several scholars have written about the intersection of consumer culture and the environment. Discussions of the environmental implications of consumerist ideologies in work by economists Gustave Speth[48] and Naomi Klein,[49] and consumer cultural historian Gary Cross.[50] Leslie Sklair proposes the criticism through the idea of culture-ideology of consumerism in his works. He says that,

First, capitalism entered a qualitatively new globalizing phase in the 1950s. As the electronic revolution got underway, significant changes began to occur in the productivity of capitalist factories, systems of extraction and processing of raw materials, product design, marketing and distribution of goods and services. […] Second, the technical and social relations that structured the mass media all over the world made it very easy for new consumerist lifestyles to become the dominant motif for these media, which became in time extraordinarily efficient vehicles for the broadcasting of the culture-ideology of consumerism globally.[51]

As of today, people are exposed to mass consumerism and product placement in the media or even in their daily lives. The line between information, entertainment, and promotion of products has been blurred so people are more reformulated into consumerist behaviour.[52] Shopping centers are a representative example of a place where people are explicitly exposed to an environment that welcomes and encourages consumption as some of them are open for 24 hours. Goss says that the shopping center designers "strive to present an alternative rationale for the shopping center's existence, manipulate shoppers' behavior through the configuration of space, and consciously design a symbolic landscape that provokes associative moods and dispositions in the shopper".[53] On the prevalence of consumerism in daily life, Historian Gary Cross says that "The endless variation of clothing, travel, and entertainment provided opportunity for practically everyone to find a personal niche, no matter their race, age, gender or class." [54]

The success of the consumerist cultural ideology can be witnessed all around the world. People rush to the mall to buy products and end up spending money with their credit cards, thus locking themselves into the financial system of capitalist globalization.[52]

See also

Consumerism and anti-consumerism in popular culture

References

  1. ^ History of American Consumerism
  2. ^ Veblen, Thorstein (1899): The Theory of the Leisure Class: an economic study of institutions, Dover Publications, Mineola, N.Y., 1994, ISBN 0-486-28062-4. (also available: Project Gutenberg e-text)
  3. ^ bookrags.com, The Theory of the Leisure Class: Summary & Study Guide Description
  4. ^ "Consumerism". Britannica Concise Encyclopedia Online. 2008.
  5. ^ James, Paul; Szeman, Imre (2010). Globalization and Culture, Vol. 3: Global-Local Consumption. London: Sage Publications. p. x.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Swagler, Roger (1997). "Modern Consumerism". In Brobeck, Stephen. Encyclopedia of the Consumer Movement. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio. pp. 172–173. ISBN 0874369878., which is based on Swagler, R. (1994). "Evolution and Applications of the Term Consumerism: Theme and Variations". Journal of Consumer Affairs. 28 (2): 347–360. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6606.1994.tb00856.x.
  7. ^ Barber, Benjamin R. (Spring 2008). "Shrunken Sovereign: Consumerism, Globalization, and American Emptiness". World Affairs. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  8. ^ Eriksson, Kai (20 November 2012). "On self-service democracy: Configurations of individualizing governance and self-directed citizenship". European Journal of Social Theory. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Consumerism Label Urged". Independent Press-Telegram. 1955-01-23.
  10. ^ Caldwell, Bruce J. (1990). Carl Menger and His Legacy in Economics. Duke University Press.
  11. ^ a b Glickman, Lawrence B. (2012). Buying power : a history of consumer activism in America (Paperback ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0226298672.
  12. ^ Compare: Trentmann, Frank (2016). Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780241198407. Retrieved 28 October 2018. McKendrick dated The Birth of a Consumer Society confidently to the third quarter of the eighteenth century, and located it in Britain. [...] Yet historians working on earlier European periods were not entirely happy to see their subjects treated as static or defective, little more than a 'traditional' backdrop to the main drama of the birth of modernity in Hanoverian Britain. A race got under way, as one after another claimed a 'consumer revolution' for their own period. Stuart historians have spotted it in seventeenth-century England, Renaissance scholars traced its roots to fifteenth-century Florence and Venice, while medieval historians detected its embryonic stirrings in a new taste for beef and ale and playing cards. Scholars of China added that the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), too, had a cult of things and deserved to be recognized as 'early modern'.
  13. ^ "recercat.net" (PDF). www.recercat.net.
  14. ^ Ewen, Stuart (2001) [1976]. Captains of Consciousness. Basic Books.
  15. ^ Ewen, Stuart; Ewen, Elizabeth (1992) [1982]. Channels of Desire: Mass Images and the Shaping of American Consciousness. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9781452900902. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  16. ^ Lears, Jackson (1995). Fables Of Abundance: A Cultural History Of Advertising In America. Hachette UK. ISBN 9780786723225. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  17. ^ Ewen, Stuart (1998). PR!: A Social History Of Spin (reprint ed.). Basic Books. ISBN 9780465061792. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  18. ^ Peck, Linda, Consuming Splendor: Society and Culture in Seventeenth-Century England, Cambridge Press, 2005
  19. ^ "Coming to live in a consumer society" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  20. ^ Ryan in Ritzer 2007, p. 701
  21. ^ Ryan in Ritzer 2007, p. 702
  22. ^ "Essay — Dawn of the Dead Mall". The Design Observer Group. 11 November 2009. Archived from the original on 14 November 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  23. ^ Veblen, Thorstein (2010). The Theory of the Leisure Class.
  24. ^ Calder, Lendol Glen (1990). Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 222. ISBN 0-691-05827-X.
  25. ^ Levine, Madeline. "Challenging the Culture of Affluence". Independent School. 67.1 (2007): 28-36. Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Miller, Eric. Attracting the Affluent. Naperville, Illinois: Financial Sourcebooks, 1990.
  27. ^ Sturken, Marita and Cartwright, Lisa. "Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture". Oxford UP, 2001, p.78
  28. ^ Sturken, Marita and Cartwright, Lisa. "Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture". Oxford UP, 2001, p. 79
  29. ^ Gary Armstrong; Stewart Adam; Sara Denize; Philip Kotler (2014). Principles of Marketing. Pearson Australia. p. 463. ISBN 978-1-4860-0253-5.
  30. ^ See for example: Janet Luhrs's The Simple Living Guide (NY: Broadway Books, 1997); Joe Dominquez, Vicki Robin et al., Your Money or Your Life (NY: Penguin Group USA, 2008)
  31. ^ See for example: Alan Durning, How Much is Enough: The Consumer Society and the Future of the Earth (New York: W. W. Norton, 1992)
  32. ^ See for example: Paul Roberts, The End of Food (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008); Michael Shuman, The Small-mart Revolution (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2007)
  33. ^ Eisingerich, Andreas B.; Bhardwaj, Gunjan; Miyamoto, Yoshio (April 2010). "Behold the Extreme Consumers and Learn to Embrace Them". Harvard Business Review. 88: 30–31.
  34. ^ "Fool Britannia". Newindpress.com. Archived from the original on 14 April 2008.
  35. ^ Global Climate Change and Energy CO2 Production—An International Perspective Archived 28 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ Majfud, Jorge (2009). "The Pandemic of Consumerism". UN Chronicle. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  37. ^ Lebow, Victor. http://hundredgoals.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/journal-of-retailing.pdf
  38. ^ Web log. 17 July 2008. http://babs22.wordpress.com/2008/07/17/australia-pope-attacks-consumerism/
  39. ^ “Loss of Biodiversity.” Laudato Si': on Care for Our Common Home: Encyclical Letter, by Pope Francis, Our Sunday Visitor, 2015, pp. 27–27.
  40. ^ a b Stearns, Peter. Consumerism in World History. Routledge
  41. ^ https://www.cssr.org.au/justice_matters/dsp-default.cfm?loadref=643
  42. ^ Fukuyama, Francis (2006) [1992]. "15: A Vacation in Bulgaria". The End of History and the Last Man. Simon and Schuster. p. 169. ISBN 9780743284554. Retrieved 2018-08-11. [...] what Havel identifies as 'the general unwillingness of consumption-oriented people to sacrifice some material certainties for the sake of their own spiritual and moral integrity' is a phenomenon that is hardly unique to communist societies. In the West, consumerism induces people to make moral compromises with themselves daily, and they lie to themselves [...] in the name of [...] ideas like 'self-realization' or 'personal growth.'
  43. ^ a b Coghlan, Andy. "Consumerism is 'eating the future'". Retrieved 2009-12-12.
  44. ^ Miles, Steven (1998-08-31). Consumerism: As a Way of Life. SAGE. ISBN 9780761952152.
  45. ^ a b Sturken, Marita and Cartwright, Lisa. "Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture". Oxford UP, 2001, p. 279
  46. ^ "Consumerism — Big Ideas". Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  47. ^ James, Paul; Scerri, Andy (2012). "Globalizing Consumption and the Deferral of a Politics of Consequence". Globalizations. 9 (2): 225–240.
  48. ^ Gustave., Speth, James (2008). The bridge at the edge of the world : capitalism, the environment, and crossing from crisis to sustainability. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300136111. OCLC 177820867.
  49. ^ 1970-, Klein, Naomi,. This changes everything : capitalism vs. the climate (First Simon & Schuster trade paperback ed.). New York. ISBN 9781451697384. OCLC 894746822.
  50. ^ S., Cross, Gary (2000). An all-consuming century : why commercialism won in modern America. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231502532. OCLC 50817376.
  51. ^ Sklair, L. 2012. Culture-Ideology of Consumerism. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization
  52. ^ a b Leslie Sklair, from Chapter 5 of Globalization: Capitalism and Its Alternatives, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, 2002. Reprinted with permission of Oxford University Press
  53. ^ Jon Goss(1993), The "Magic of the Mall": An Analysis of Form, Function, and Meaning in the Contemporary Retail Built Environment, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 83, No. 1. (Mar., 1993), pp. 18-47
  54. ^ Cross, Gary S. An All-Consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America. Columbia University Press, 2002. pp.233

Ryan, Michael T. (2007) "consumption" in George Ritzer (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Blackwell Publishing, 2007, 701-705

External links

Affluenza

Affluenza, a portmanteau of affluence and influenza, is a term used by critics of consumerism. It is thought to have been first used in 1954, but it was popularised in 1997 with a PBS documentary of the same name and the subsequent book Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (2001, revised in 2005, 2014). These works define affluenza as "a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more". The term "affluenza" has also been used to refer to an inability to understand the consequences of one's actions because of financial privilege, such as in the case of Ethan Couch.

Alternative culture

Alternative culture is a type of culture that exists outside or on the fringes of mainstream or popular culture, usually under the domain of one or more subcultures. These subcultures may have little or nothing in common besides their relative obscurity, but cultural studies uses this common basis of obscurity to classify them as alternative cultures, or, taken as a whole, the alternative culture. Compare with the more politically charged term, counterculture.

Anti-consumerism

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".

Boycott

A boycott is an act of voluntary and intentional abstention from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for moral, social, political, or environmental reasons. The purpose of a boycott is to inflict some economic loss on the target, or to indicate a moral outrage, to try to compel the target to alter an objectionable behavior.

Sometimes, a boycott can be a form of consumer activism, sometimes called moral purchasing. When a similar practice is legislated by a national government, it is known as a sanction.

Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden, Buy Nothing Day is held the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, concurrent to Black Friday; elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November. Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters, based in Canada.

The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Canada in September 1992 "as a day for society to examine the issue of overconsumption." In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called "Black Friday", which is one of the ten busiest shopping days in the United States. In 2000, some advertisements by Adbusters promoting Buy Nothing Day were denied advertising time by almost all major television networks except for CNN. Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, Norway and Sweden. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.

Commercial art

Commercial art is the art of creative services, referring to art created for commercial purposes, primarily advertising. Commercial art uses a variety of platforms (magazines, websites, apps, television, etc.) for viewers with the intent of promoting sale and interest of products, services, and ideas. It relies on the iconic image (pictorial representations that are recognized easily to members of a culture) to enhance recall and favorable recognition for a product or service. An example of a product could be a magazine ad promoting a new soda through complimentary colors, a catchy message, and appealing illustrative features. Another example could be promoting the prevention of global warming by encouraging people to walk or ride a bike instead of driving in an eye catching poster. It communicates something specific to an audience.

People can obtain training, certifications, and degrees that incorporate commercial arts in many exercises, activities, and programs.

Conspicuous consumption

Conspicuous consumption is the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power—of the income or of the accumulated wealth of the buyer. To the conspicuous consumer, such a public display of discretionary economic power is a means of either attaining or maintaining a given social status.The development of Thorstein Veblen's sociology of conspicuous consumption produced the term invidious consumption, the ostentatious consumption of goods that is meant to provoke the envy of other people; and the term conspicuous compassion, the deliberate use of charitable donations of money in order to enhance the social prestige of the donor, with a display of superior socio-economic status.

Escape from Affluenza

Escape from Affluenza is a 1998 PBS 56-minute documentary film produced as a sequel to the 1997 documentary Affluenza. While the original concentrates on affluenza--consumerism and materialism in modern society, the sequel focuses on how to avoid this. It looks at stories of how to reduce debt, stress, time-pressure, and possession-overload.The cast includes Wanda Urbanska as the host and Cecile Andrews, author of "Circle of Simplicity".

Ethical consumerism

Ethical consumerism (alternatively called ethical consumption, ethical purchasing, moral purchasing, ethical sourcing, ethical shopping or green consumerism) is a type of consumer activism that is based on the concept of dollar voting. It is practiced through 'positive buying' in that ethical products are favoured, or 'moral boycott', that is negative purchasing and company-based purchasing.The term "ethical consumer", now used generically, was first popularised by the UK magazine Ethical Consumer, first published in 1989. Ethical Consumer magazine's key innovation was to produce 'ratings tables', inspired by the criteria-based approach of the then emerging ethical investment movement. Ethical Consumer's ratings tables awarded companies negative marks (and from 2005 overall scores) across a range of ethical and environmental categories such as 'animal rights', 'human rights' and 'pollution and toxics', empowering consumers to make ethically informed consumption choices and providing campaigners with reliable information on corporate behaviour. Such criteria-based ethical and environmental ratings have subsequently become commonplace both in providing consumer information and in business-to-business corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings such as those provided by Innovest, Calvert Foundation, Domini, IRRC, TIAA–CREF and KLD Analytics. Today, Bloomberg and Reuters provide "environmental, social and governance" ratings direct to the financial data screens of hundreds of thousands of stock market traders. The not-for-profit Ethical Consumer Research Association continues to publish Ethical Consumer and its associated website, which provides free access to ethical ratings tables.

The term political consumerism first used in a study titled “The Gender Gap Reversed: Political Consumerism as a Women-Friendly Form of Civic and Political Engagement” from authors Dietlind Stolle and Michele Micheletti is identical to idea of ethical consumerism; however in this study, the authors found that political consumerism is a form of social participation that often goes overlooked at the time of writing and needs to be accounted for in future studies of social participation.

Foster, You're Dead!

"Foster, You're Dead!" is a 1955 science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Star Science Fiction Stories No.3.

The story is a satire of two 1950s-era trends: consumerism and increasing Cold War anxiety. Dick wrote in a letter: "One day I saw a newspaper headline reporting that the President suggested that if Americans had to buy their bomb shelters, rather than being provided with them by the government, they'd take better care of them, an idea which made me furious. Logically, each of us should own a submarine, a jet fighter, and so forth."It was adapted by Kalen Egan and Travis Sentell for the episode "Safe and Sound" of the 2017 TV series, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams.

Hyperconsumerism

Hyperconsumerism, hyper-consumerism, hyperconsumption or hyper-consumption refer to the consumption of goods for non-functional purposes and the associated significant pressure to consume those goods exerted by the modern, capitalist society, as those goods shape one's identity. Frenchy Lunning defines it curtly as "a consumerism for the sake of consuming."

Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (Malaysia)

The current Malaysian Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs is Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, since 2 July 2018.

The minister is supported by Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, whom is Chong Chieng Jen.

The minister administers the portfolio through the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (Malaysia)

The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (Malay: Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna), abbreviated KPDNHEP, is a ministry of the Government of Malaysia that is responsible for domestic trade, co-operatives, consumerism, franchise, companies, intellectual property, competition, controlled goods, price control, pyramid scheme, consumer rights, trader.

Patient participation

Patient participation is a trend that arose in answer to perceived physician paternalism. However, only rarely can unchecked physician paternalism be justified, and unlimited patient autonomy would presumably be equally abhorrent.In recent years, the term "patient participation" has been used in many different contexts. These include, for example: participatory medicine, health consumerism,

and patient-centered care. For the latter context, i.e. patient-centered care, a more nuanced definition was proposed in 2009 by the president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Donald Berwick: "The experience (to the extent the informed, individual patient desires it) of transparency, individualization, recognition, respect, dignity, and choice in all matters, without exception, related to one's person, circumstances, and relationships in health care" are concepts closely related to patient participation. In the UK over the course of 2016 two new relevant terms have expanded in usage: Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) and Engagement (PPIE) in the sense of the older term coproduction (public services).

Patient participation is a generic term, and thus no list can be exhaustive; nonetheless, the following description shall subdivide it into several areas where patients and/or their advocates have a role.

Philosophy of futility

Philosophy of futility is a phrase coined in 1928 by Columbia University marketing professor Paul Nystrom to describe an increasingly prevalent outlook which, he believed, induced a greater demand for fashionable products. The growth of industrialization had brought about a narrowing of interests, contacts, and achievements for many people in the Western world. Such conditions of life, Nystrom observed, encourage a tendency to become quickly bored and, consequently, a continual appetite for newness and change and a greater interest in goods in which fashion dominates, such as apparel, automobiles, and home furnishings.

The following is a quotation from Nystrom's Economics of Fashion (1928), often cited by historians and analysts of marketing, consumerism, and commercialism:

One's outlook on life and its purposes may greatly modify one's attitude toward goods in which fashion is prominent. At the present time, not a few people in western nations have departed from old-time standards of religion and philosophy, and having failed to develop forceful views to take their places, hold to something that may be called, for want of a better name, a philosophy of futility. This view of life (or lack of a view of life) involves a question as to the value of motives and purposes of the main human activities. There is ever a tendency to challenge the purpose of life itself. This lack of purpose in life has an effect on consumption similar to that of having a narrow life interest, that is, in concentrating human attention on the more superficial things in which fashion reigns.Philosophy of Futility and Retail Therapy:

Shopping in order to make oneself feel happier is a symptom that is referred to as “retail therapy” in the popular press. The term was first used in the Chicago Tribune of December 24, 1986: "We've become a nation measuring out our lives in shopping bags and nursing our psychic ills through retail therapy". Retail therapy, sometimes observed in people in times of depression or transition, indicates lack of personal purpose, and involves shopping as a therapeutic act that improves the buyer's mood or disposition; therefore, goods purchased during retail therapy are often referred to as "comfort buys." The “vicious cycle” in Nystrom’s theory can be seen in many economic and philosophical arenas. Robert and Edward Skidelsky, in a father-and-son/economist-and-philosopher writing partnership, discuss that needs are finite and can be satisfied, but wants are infinite in quantity. Adam Smith, a pioneer in political economy, states his Theory of Moral Sentiments that “Riches leave a man always as much and sometimes more exposed than before to anxiety, to fear and to sorrow.”

Advertising can manipulate those wants, and make them appear as needs by making consumers feel they are not whole or happy without their product. In his criticism of Christianity, Friedrich Nietzsche said "To act as a physician," he writes, "the priest must make one sick!" For Christianity to appear as the savior, people must first have a problem. Advertising can make their product be the savior of a consumer’s problem.

Advertising can be particularly influential on children. Between the ages of 2 and 5, children are unable to distinguish between advertising and scheduled television broadcasts. Many countries have banned advertising targeting children to help avoid marketing saturation, and to allow them time to develop an identity beyond that of a consumer. Child advocates have condemned ads from children’s cereals for their lack of nutritional value leading to child obesity to advertising campaigns for action figures based on adult movies or themes. With the average US youth seeing anywhere from 2000-3000 ads a day, the content and intent of those ads has increasingly come under scrutiny.

Post-consumerism

Post-consumerism is often suggesting that there is a growing willingness to assert that well-being, as distinct from material success, is the aim of life. Post-consumerism can also be viewed as moving beyond the current model of addictive consumerism. This personal and societal strategy utilizes each individual's core values to identify the "satisfaction of enough for today." The intent and outcome of this basic strategy to date has "reached people where they are rather than simply where we are."

Sustainable consumption

As a compliment to analyses of production and its processes, Sustainable Consumption (SC) is the study of resource and energy use (domestic or otherwise). As the term sustainability would imply, those who study SC seek to apply the concept of “continuance”—the capacity to meet both present and future human generational needs. SC, then, would also include analyses of efficiency, infrastructure, and waste, as well as access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. It shares a number of common features with and is closely linked to the terms sustainable production and sustainable development. Sustainable consumption as part of sustainable development is a prerequisite in the worldwide struggle against sustainability challenges such as climate change, resource depletion, famines or environmental pollution.

Sustainable development as well as sustainable consumption rely on certain premises such as:

Effective use of resources, and minimisation of waste and pollution

Use of renewable resources within their capacity for renewal

Fuller product life-cycles

Intergenerational and intragenerational equity

What Would Jesus Buy?

What Would Jesus Buy? is a 2007 documentary film produced by Morgan Spurlock and directed by Rob VanAlkemade. The title is a take-off on the phrase, "what would Jesus do?". The film debuted on the festival circuit on March 11, 2007, at the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas. It went into general U.S. release on November 16, 2007.The film follows the exploits of the semi-fictional group Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. Although founded as a performance collective rather than an actual religious organization, members of the group express spiritual viewpoints against excessive consumerism and materialism, particularly in the context of Christmas. The aforementioned Reverend Billy, played by social activist Bill Talen, is intended by its non-Christian performer not as parody but as a living example of past radical preachers.

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