Consumerism and materialism are running rampant in the world today. When the communists and fascists were trying to take over the world we looked at capitalism as our savior but now that capitalism has had a chance to rule the world it’s becoming clear that it’s no savior. Consumerism leads to multiple evils and problems. Here are 8 of the biggest problems caused by consumerism.
8. Resource Wastage:
We are using up earth’s resources as if there is an infinite source on earth. There isn’t. We have finite resources and in the culture of disposable everything we are running out of them quickly. Irresponsible wastage of resources has brought the world to the brink of destruction and it’s not even clear if we can still save the world. We might have crossed the point of no return long ago.
When we use resources blindly and arrogantly it leads to hunger in the world. It is just one consequence of irresponsible resource wastage. In order to sustain the level of consumption in first world countries, third world countries have to be exploited. There is no other way. Their people die of hunger while fat Americans eat beef burgers made of cows that were fed on grain that could have fed hundreds of Africans for a year.
6. Destruction of the World:
We are digging mother earth for resources. We are drilling deep oil wells. We are cutting down forests on an industrial scale. We are throwing garbage everywhere we can. We are killing animals on a genocidal rate by destroying their homes. We are poisoning the land, water and air we need to live. In short we are destroying the world. Why? To satisfy the demands of out of control consumerism.
5. An Unending Pursuit of Happiness:
Consumerism is not only destroying the world but also causing problems in our personal life. We are told through advertising in various forms that consuming more and wanting more will bring us happiness. We are led to believe that not only is permanent happiness achievable but that it is our fundamental right to have it. When we can’t be happy they tell us to buy their products and be happy. And in this unending pursuit of happiness we go deeper and deeper into consumerism.
4. Financial Problems:
When we buy more than we can afford it is obvious we’ll run into financial troubles. But the manufacturers didn’t want us to stop buying so they told the banks to give us loans and issue us credit cards. Now we spend the money we’ll earn in all our lifetime in the first few years as adults. We then struggle for the rest of our life to make ends meet. All because of the culture of consumerism.
The unequal wealth distribution that we see today is a direct result of the consumer culture. Think about it for a minute; who are the real producers of goods? Who works in the farms and factories? People like you and me. And who are the customers? People like you and me. So we are manufacturing products and selling them to ourselves. But who’s making the profit? The already rich manufacturers. Think about it deeply for a while.
Hunger, income inequality, resource shortage; these are three reasons that are enough to cause wars on their own. We have them all together and we can see this in what is happening in the Middle East. Oil is the reason behind all the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria etc. Iran is next on the list. We are told many lies about the reasons behind the wars but the real reason is oil and nobody with any intelligence can deny this.
1. The Negative Feedback Loop:
The absolutely worst impact of consumerism is the negative feedback look that it has created. This is the reason why a little consumerism in the early 1900’s has grown into rampant consumerism today. What happens is that first we are scared by the news channels into thinking that the world is a horrible place. Then advertisements tell us that by buying stuff we can find a degree of happiness. We don’t have any money to buy stuff so our banks tell us it’s okay to buy now and pay later. We buy stuff and spend money we don’t have so we have to work harder. We work longer and produce more stuff for our masters who sell it back to us. We have to buy it because we are unhappier now that we are working long hours. We take more loans and have to work harder and get unhappier and then buy more stuff. You see the cycle that feeds on itself? It’s negative for us and the world. It’s only positive for the manufacturers who keep getting richer and richer.