Consumerism has its pros and cons. Unlike some people I will attempt to look at both sides without vehemently condemning consumerism or worshiping it like a materialistic individual. Rather lets take a look at each side individually.
Consumerism has turned our world into a society where through the power of currency one person can decide (in theory) the fate of a company by choosing to purchase a product or choosing not to. They can also choose to promote the product or tell the world how bad a product is. Before the internet, consumerism was great for the big guys and not as great for the little guys. If you spent your dollar or didn’t it had no effect on the company’s bottom line. But now with the power of technology and information available in an instant, one consumer has the power to break a company. The power of one’s voice can now influence many, and this is very evident in today’s consumer driven society.
Just look at how companies now actively seek out consumer suggestions, comments, ideas, and thoughts. By reaching out to consumers, most companies are acknowledging that you and I control the money in our wallets; money that many companies must now entertain us for if they hope to reap the financial benefits. Consumerism in the 21st century has become an individual experience with so much being tailored to fit the individual, our demands and interests met by an endless line of new products and new ways to spend. Such powerful spending only increases the overall global economy which is generally seen as a pro of consumerism.
Ah but there is a downside to everything. Consumerism in its most basic form is the creation of a system in which each of us do not need to go out and kill our food, make our clothing, and build our shelter. We just go to a store or go to a company and purchase what is needed. New products make more and more tasks ever easier, minimizing the amount of intelligence or even physical activity we must exert to get something. Money has become the weapon of choice for us; much like our ancestors used clubs, arrows, and other implements to get what they needed.
We have become quite lazy since our ability to obtain what we need has been easily met, now we strive to obtain what we want. Money is all around, even here on Helium we can type our thoughts for money, everywhere you go the 21st century offers endless ways to make and earn money. With this money we can gain as many possessions as we want, we only need very little to get food and shelter, now we need more money to buy the latest gadget or toy to produce a sense of happiness. Many of us take up unstimulated jobs in fields that were created by money and we do so in order to make more money to buy more wanted items. We waste a lot of our intellect in jobs that do not challenge us and for the most part do little to make a difference or contribute to society. With all this consumerism has driven us to do whatever task pays the most, so we can have the most.
So there you have it, consumerism at its best and its worse. Of course not all of us succumb to a lazy existence where we measure our success and ranking among others based on the size of our paycheck or our TV screen. But the trend is disturbing as more people are being killed for their sneakers and more kids are seeing value not in education, but in the latest electronic toy. Consumerism is driving more and more people to buy , buy , buy without enjoying the pleasures of life that come to us naturally. More power may be given to the individual consumer now, but perhaps that is only encouraging us to become more focused on merely consuming and never creating.