Consumerism refers to a social and economic order that encourages heavy spending on goods and services and is based on the belief that it is good for people to spend a lot of money. The rate of consumption all over the globe has been increasing at an alarming rate as people indulge in excessive shopping sprees with the aim of attaining status and acceptance among their peers. It is worth understanding that consumerism has devastating effects on the planet, health, and the overall happiness of people. Some of the crucial ways of reducing consumerism may include the cultivation of non-consumerist institutions, limitation of advertising, encouraging people to be the change, and harnessing the power of art. The culture of consumerism and the value of more can be effectively replaced with the culture of sustainability and the value of enough.
Current Paper Explicates Diverse Elements Related to the Fast-Rising Culture of Consumerism Among Consumers
What People Hope to Buy When they Shop
People shop for different reasons as they hope to achieve varying goals. One of the most crucial elements that people hope to buy when they shop is status. This is especially common among high class or middle-class people looking forward to be recognized as living better lives (Schor, Cohen and Rogers 40). Notably, people are always focused on spending excessively on expensive products such as flashy cars and phones with the aim of attaining status and recognition in the society. They tend to believe that status would lead to a high sense of respect in the society and denote a high level of class for the purchasing individuals.
More so, most people really hope to buy acceptance when they shop. This is mainly influenced by peer groups that people associate with. They will shop with the aim of gaining acceptance among their peers because of the matching aspect (Thorpe 25). The purchase of acceptance tends to make people fit into their peer groups more effectively hence ensuring they maintain their friends. Again, people do not like looking like they are out of context from their peers, and they will shop to purchase the required level of acceptance.
People also hope to buy uniqueness as they engage in their shopping experiences. Some people always hope to buy uniqueness in the course of their buying experiences. This implies they would buy anything without considering its price, as long as it remains unique to them. This is especially common in cases where people do not want to resemble the rest of buyers in the society.
Influence of Malls on our Culture
Shopping malls have had mixed influences on culture. This explains the view that the influence of malls cannot be termed as fully important or destructive to our culture as it lies somewhere in between positive and negative impacts on culture.
It is crucial to understand that malls have played an outstanding role in creating a social environment where individuals of all calibers are able to interact even as they shop. This is an improvement on our culture as it presents an opportunity for all to be accommodated under one roof and have a fulfilling shopping experience (Emerald 15). The mall has offered an effective opportunity to ensure that culture is enhanced through an integrated shopping experience that allows all types of individuals to share a common purpose of shopping at any given time. Malls do not draw differences between different groups in the society hence ensuring that they are appreciated in the course of their ultimate shopping experience.
On the other hand, malls have been destructive to our culture because they have enormously changed the lifestyles of most individuals, as they have made more people obsessed in terms of material acquisitions, unnecessary comforts and pleasures. Malls have changed the manner in which individuals are used to live into a better and organized one, into a lifestyle that is mainly focused on materiality (Gibson 177). This emanates from the fact that malls display a variety of products at varying prices hence leading to the deviation of individuals from their required cultural feeling of just having enough. Malls have made people more materialistic through uncontrollable shopping experiences.
In light of the above assertion, it can be directly noted that malls have a mixed influence on culture. No strict position can be taken concerning their positive or destructive influence on culture.
Is a Day Spent Shopping Innocent Fun or Something More Sinister?
In line with the understanding of most consumers, a day spent shopping is just innocent fun, and nothing more. This is a common belief and most individuals would always look forward to go shopping just as a part of fulfilling themselves and go out happily. This explains the reason why most consumers save cash dedicated to shopping and get all the fun that they need from their shopping experiences. In fact, a day spent shopping is just innocent fun as most consumers enjoy diversity in terms of the products and services they are able to experience on their day out. Apart from purchasing necessities, a day spent shopping is innocent fun as it offers individuals the opportunity to understand other commodities that may be available for consumption.
Effect of Consumerism on the Planet
The level of consumption is increasing at an alarming rate leading to devastating effects on the planet. In specific terms, consumerism has had a devastating toll on the earth’s natural resources, water supplies, and ecosystems exemplified by a plethora of disposable plastic garbage bags, cameras, and the disposal of goods. This has increased the greenhouse effect on the planet, which results into a continuous climate change on this planet. The greenhouse effect emanating from consumerism is now severe and it is estimated that the whole world would experience rising temperatures by 2015 (Harris 279). The effect of consumerism on the planet worsens as some products that were perceived luxuries are rapidly becoming necessities among the majority of individuals. For instance, expensive mobile phones were considered luxuries, but the trend has enormously changed as everyone wants to posses them as a necessity. This has led to devastating effects on the planet, as it has given room to the increase in the greenhouse effect. The grave effects of the consumerism on the planet point to the view that individuals must start thinking of changing their lifestyles in order to save the planet from complete destruction. This will also secure the future for the generations to come.
Limiting or Even Ending Consumerism
Several measures can be adopted to limit or even end consumerism one day. Here is an explanation of some of the measures that can be embraced to limit consumerism.
One of the most significant measures to limit consumerism is to reduce the level of advertising. It is a conventional knowledge that intensive levels of advertising increase the level of demand for products and services all over the world (Kangun and Richardson 55). There should be a restriction on advertising the consumption of unhealthy products that increase environmental degradation. Marketers should be able to collaborate with the government in controlling the level of advertising that will automatically lead to a reduced demand for particular goods and services hence leading to a better society that adheres to the required level of consumption without going overboard in terms of shopping.
Another significant measure to limit or even end consumerism is the cultivation of non-consumerist institutions in the country. It should be the initiative of the government and communities to create and empower organizations that stand against the consumerist culture. These organizations should be driven by the agenda of de-emphasizing consumerism by focusing on the meeting of needs rather than selling diverse products to consumers. These organizations should be given the responsibility of managing assets with the aim of delivering the long-term well-being to the asset owners rather than delivering high short-term financial benefits to managers (Kaul 532). Non-consumerist movements should also be empowered to reach communities and educate them on the negatives of excessive consumption to the planet and their own health. This will play an instrumental role in leading to a better society with limited consumption among members of the society.
Consumerism can also be limited or even eliminated in case where individuals in the society take up the individual role of bringing change. People must understand that change begins with them, and that they can overcome consumerism. Therefore, it would be prudent for individuals to be encouraged to take up the challenge as change mechanisms within the society. In bringing about change, people can take part in local initiatives that highlight the significance of mass consumption by purchasing fewer amounts of products. They can also encourage local production and engage in boycotts related to mass consumer outlets in their regions. This will offer a through-way to alleviating consumerism or even fully eliminating it.
Harnessing the power of art can play an instrumental role in limiting the level of consumerism. This means that there should be a strategy to promote music, visual arts, and dance in line with diverting the attention of individuals from excessive consumption. It is believed that artistic elements have the ability to fill the ear more effectively compared to shopping trips and excessive consumption habits (Tackett 2012). The culture of art should be encouraged to give individuals the opportunity to forget about the unnecessary shopping experiences that lead to consumerism. Therefore, stakeholders must be looking forward to this, as a strategy to limit consumption levels among customers.
The habit of consumerism can be effectively replaced with a culture of sustainability and the value of enough. This means that individuals would be made to understand that excessive consumption is not the way to go as just enough consumption can lead to an incredible experience in their lives (Elgin 2011). This would be done through campaigns informing people about the negatives of consumerism and the importance of sustainability to the planet and their health. This will then be gradually integrated into the society leading to better consumption decisions that do not result into consumerism. This new strategy would play an assistive role in saving the planet from massive destruction and would secure the planet by ensuring a significant decline in the emission of greenhouse gases.
In conclusion, consumerism is undesirable and should be gradually eliminated through appropriate mechanisms that inform people on its disadvantages. Most people always have a feeling that shopping is innocent fun, and they tend to engage in shopping to purchase status, uniqueness, and acceptance in the society. The culture of consumerism can be effectively addressed through limiting the level of advertisements, promoting non-consumerist organizations, and using art to destruct the focus from shopping. Sustainability and the value for enough can replace consumerism and help save the planet for upcoming generations.
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