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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 overproduction—the supply of goods would grow beyond consumer demand, and so manufacturers turned to planned obsolescence and advertising to manipulate consumer spending.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. 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."
The 20th (twentieth) century was a century that began on January 1, 1901 and ended on December 31, 2000. It was the tenth and final century of the 2nd millennium. It is distinct from the century known as the 1900s which began on January 1, 1900 and ended on December 31, 1999.
Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines. Together with job production and batch production, it is one of the three main production methods.
In economics, overproduction, oversupply, excess of supply or glut refers to excess of supply over demand of products being offered to the market. This leads to lower prices and/or unsold goods along with the possibility of unemployment.
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).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.
Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
Consumption, defined as spending for acquisition of utility, is a major concept in economics and is also studied in many other social sciences. It is seen in contrast to investing, which is spending for acquisition of future income.
Producerism is an ideology which holds that those members of society engaged in the production of tangible wealth are of greater benefit to society than, for example, aristocrats who inherit their wealth and station.
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'.
Global warming is the long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system. It is a major aspect of current climate change, and has been demonstrated by direct temperature measurements and by measurements of various effects of the warming. The term commonly refers to the mainly human-caused increase in global surface temperatures and its projected continuation. In this context, the terms global warming and climate change are often used interchangeably, but climate change includes both global warming and its effects, such as changes in precipitation and impacts that differ by region. There were prehistoric periods of global warming, but observed changes since the mid-20th century have been much greater than those seen in previous records covering decades to thousands of years.
Eudaimonia, sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, "human flourishing or prosperity" and "blessedness" have been proposed as more accurate translations.
Manfred B. Steger is Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He was also Professor of Global Studies and Director of the Globalism Research Centre at RMIT University in Australia until 2013.
The term consumerism has several definitions.These definitions may not be related to each other and confusingly, they conflict with each other.
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:
John Stephen Bugas, known as Jack Bugas, was the second in command at Ford Motor Company during the presidency and chairmanship reign of Henry Ford II. He is best known for wresting control of the company from Harry Bennett—including drawing pistols on each other—following the death of Edsel Ford.
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker that has its main headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and most luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. Ford also owns Brazilian SUV manufacturer Troller, an 8% stake in Aston Martin of the United Kingdom and a 32% stake in Jiangling Motors. It also has joint-ventures in China, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Russia. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Ford family; they have minority ownership but the majority of the voting power.
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!"
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).
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.The ads for his 1960 book The Waste Makers prominently featured the word consumerism in a negative way.
The consumer society emerged in the late seventeenth century and intensified throughout the eighteenth century. [ which? ] 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[ quantify ] critics argue that consumerism was a political and economic necessity for the reproduction of capitalist competition for markets and profits, while others[ who? ] 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[ by whom? ] 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 during the course of the 18th century increased by a factor of 20.While some
Critics[ which? ] 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[ by whom? ] later[ when? ], more or less strategically, in order to intensify consumption domestically and to make resistant cultures more flexible to extend its reach. [ page needed ] [ need quotation to verify ] [ need quotation to verify ]
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.
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.
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.
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.).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 their income on food and other necessities. What was needed to propel consumerism, was a system of mass production and consumption, exemplified by Henry Ford, an 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 commodities produced on assembly lines around the world. [ need quotation to verify ]
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".
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.||”|
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.||”|
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."
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".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.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. 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.
American Dream has long been associated with consumerism.According to Sierra Club’s Dave Tilford, "With less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper."
China is the world's fastest-growing consumer market.According to biologist Paul R. Ehrlich, "If everyone consumed resources at the US level, you will need another four or five Earths."
This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (July 2011)
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Since consumerism began, various individuals and groups have consciously sought an alternative lifestyle. These movements range on a spectrum from moderate "simple living","eco-conscious shopping", and "localvore"/"buying local", 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[ by whom? ] 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. 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 [ quantify ] 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. Dr. Jorge Majfud says that "Trying to reduce environmental pollution without reducing consumerism is like combatting drug trafficking without reducing the drug addiction."in modern society. Critics of consumerism often
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.||”|
Critics of consumerism include Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,Pope Francis, German historian Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), who said: "Life in America is exclusively economic in structure and lacks depth" ), and French writer Georges Duhamel (1884-1966), who held American materialism up as "a beacon of mediocrity that threatened to eclipse French civilization". 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." 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.
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."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. 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.
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.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. 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.Likewise, other ecological economists such as Herman Daly and Tim Jackson recognize the inherent conflict between consumer-driven consumption and planet-wide ecological degradation.
In the 21st century's globalized economy, consumerism has become a noticeable part of the culture.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 and Naomi Klein, and consumer cultural historian Gary Cross. 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.
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.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". 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."
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.
Shopping is an activity in which a customer browses the available goods or services presented by one or more retailers with the potential intent to purchase a suitable selection of them. A typology of shopper types has been developed by scholars which identifies one group of shoppers as recreational shoppers, that is, those who enjoy shopping and view it as a leisure activity.
Thorstein Veblen was a Norwegian-American economist and sociologist, who during his lifetime emerged as a well-known critic of capitalism.
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.
In Karl Marx's critique of political economy, commodity fetishism is the perception of the social relationships involved in production not as relationships among people, but as economic relationships among the money and commodities exchanged in market trade. As such, commodity fetishism transforms the subjective, abstract aspects of economic value into objective, real things that people believe have intrinsic value.
In economics and consumer theory, a Giffen good is a product that people consume more of as the price rises and vice versa—violating the basic law of demand in microeconomics. For any other sort of good, as the price of the good rises, the substitution effect makes consumers purchase less of it, and more of substitute goods; for most goods, the income effect reinforces this decline in demand for the good. But a Giffen good is so strongly an inferior good in the minds of consumers that this contrary income effect more than offsets the substitution effect, and the net effect of the good's price rise is to increase demand for it. A Giffen good is considered to be the opposite of an ordinary good.
Veblen goods are types of luxury goods for which the quantity demanded increases as the price increases, an apparent contradiction of the law of demand, resulting in an upward-sloping demand curve. A higher price may make a product desirable as a status symbol in the practices of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure. A product may be a Veblen good because it is a positional good, something few others can own.
The term culture industry was coined by the critical theorists Theodor Adorno (1903–1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895–1973), and was presented as critical vocabulary in the chapter "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", of the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), wherein they proposed that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods—films, radio programmes, magazines, etc.—that are used to manipulate mass society into passivity. Consumption of the easy pleasures of popular culture, made available by the mass communications media, renders people docile and content, no matter how difficult their economic circumstances. The inherent danger of the culture industry is the cultivation of false psychological needs that can only be met and satisfied by the products of capitalism; thus Adorno and Horkheimer especially perceived mass-produced culture as dangerous to the more technically and intellectually difficult high arts. In contrast, true psychological needs are freedom, creativity, and genuine happiness, which refer to an earlier demarcation of human needs, established by Herbert Marcuse..
The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899), by Thorstein Veblen, is a treatise on economics and a detailed, social critique of conspicuous consumption, as a function of social class and of consumerism, derived from the social stratification of people and the division of labour, which are the social institutions of the feudal period that have continued to the modern era.
The trickle-down effect is a model of product adoption in marketing that affects many consumer goods and services.
In economics, a luxury good is a good for which demand increases more than proportionally as income rises, so that expenditures on the good become a greater proportion of overall spending.
A consumer economy describes an economy driven by consumer spending as a percent of its gross domestic product, as opposed to the other major components of GDP.
In sociology, taste is an individual's personal, cultural and aesthetic patterns of choice and preference. Taste is drawing distinctions between things such as styles, manners, consumer goods, and works of art and relating to these. Social inquiry of taste is about the human ability to judge what is beautiful, good, and proper.
Positional goods are goods valued only by how they are distributed among the population, not by how many of them there are available in total as would be the case with other consumer goods. The source of greater worth of positional goods is their desirability as a status symbol, which usually results in them greatly exceeding the value of comparable goods.
Post-capitalism includes a number of proposals for a new economic system to replace capitalism, or otherwise speculate on the fate of the current form of the socio-economic order. According to some classical Marxist and some social evolutionary theories, post-capitalist societies may come about as a result of spontaneous evolution as capitalism becomes obsolete. Others propose models to intentionally replace capitalism. The most notable among them are socialism and anarchism.
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.
Consumer capitalism is a theoretical economic and social political condition in which consumer demand is manipulated in a deliberate and coordinated way on a very large scale through mass-marketing techniques, to the advantage of sellers.
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 consumer revolution refers to the period from approximately 1600 to 1750 in England in which there was a marked increase in the consumption and variety of luxury goods and products by individuals from different economic and social backgrounds. The consumer revolution marked a departure from the traditional mode of life that was dominated by frugality and scarcity to one of increasingly mass consumption in society.
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."
Consumer identity is the consumption pattern through which a consumer describes themselves. In consumer culture, people no longer consume goods and services merely for functional satisfaction. Consumption has become increasingly more meaning-based; brands are often used as symbolic resources for the construction and maintenance of identity. Consumers use brands and products to express their identities.
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'.
[...] 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.'
Ryan, Michael T. (2007) "consumption" in George Ritzer (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Blackwell Publishing, 2007, 701-705
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