Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What's the issue with consumerism

There are a lot of groups in society that rail against consumerism. I have a hard time clearly interpreting the semantics in the discourse, some view consumerism as an attack on the earth, others see as a frivolous pan-societal addiction – an instant gratification fest – and others see both these elements as reasons to speak out against it. I am inclined to agree with both these positions, they are valid concerns. What is invalid, however, is attaching these concerns to a market economy. A market economy does manage to sell some stupid junk, but please remember, it provides a larger portion of essentials. Please examine the most commoditized markets – FOOD – it comes to those is market economies in such abundance that we get too much. You can argue that the world food distribution system is faulty because there is a bottom billion, please also remember, that the bottom billion, for the most part, are outside the Anglo / Euro economic sphere. – our task is to have them join use in prosperity.

The Dollar Store dilemma; trinkets abound and even the poor can buy them in abundance – one piece of plastic after another is an affront to the environment and effects an ill in the development of children, whereby, children exist in a mountain of frivolous simulation absent focused activity. There is a triple whammy here, there is the initial true waste of resources, there is the distraction from learning and there is an inter-generational conditioning factor whereby, children accept the culture of pacification by distraction. So consumerism in this context is a concern, it is a cultural element made possible by the efficiency of the market system. The solution is to change the cultural element, as opposed to the annihilation of the market economy. This phenomenon is in no way a call to Trotskyism, it is rather a call to enlighten the affected to the ills of their ways and to show them the path to a fulfilled and whole existence.

The challenge that emerges out of the fight against consumerism is, that people are oft times raising the alarm to the ill, to channel attention to a political objective, rather than, to seek solution within the context of contemporary society. They tend to point to consumerism as an inevitable extension of the market economy and offer it as a part of a complex of factors that doom humanity to ruin under the rubric of capitalism. I am here to say that consumerism is damaging and requires a concerted effort by civil society and government to educate and redirect, AND the market economy has delivered more prosperity to the populace than any other system in human history – so it should be maintained and enhanced rune under the rubric of capitalism.

More Thinking on the Subject


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