We live in what is called a consumerist culture. What is Consumerism? By definition, consumerism is an increasing societal and economic ordered that promotes the acquisition of products and services at ever increasing rates. In a consumerist culture, people’s need and satisfaction with products are of paramount importance. People look for instant gratification, and they have learned to treat money and goods as the ultimate object in exchange for them.
The origin of Consumerism can be traced to early twentieth century French sociologist and philosopher who believed that people are ruled by habit and that what a person buys tells an overwhelming majority about their personality. This line of thinking has since become one of the guiding principles of consumer culture in the United States. As Benjamin Graham put it, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” If people are not saving pennies, then they are not really saving anything, since the act of saving requires no tangible item of value.
With all of this said, consumerism in the US has become extremely popular. This popularity has allowed this relatively new phenomena to spread globally, changing the way people approach the world and how they interact with it. One of the largest changes that Consumerism has brought about is the change in the world’s relationship with money.
In earlier days, consumerism was associated more with rich individuals and wealthy families. For the most part, these families and individuals were the only ones who could purchase quality goods and services. It was not until the advent of modern society that average citizens, those without money fortunes, were able to buy items and services that were more affordable to them. The growth of the middle class, coupled with technological advancements, allowed the average citizen to join in the purchasing of goods and services, giving birth to the phenomenon we know today as consumerism.
What is Consumerism exactly? Basically, consumerism is the act of purchasing goods and services for the purpose of personal satisfaction. It is not uncommon for people to spend hours shopping, eating at restaurants, or visiting amusement parks on a daily basis. The reason behind these constant trips and purchases is because of the concept of consumerism. In fact, people believe that the satisfaction they derive from such activities makes their lives worthwhile.
While consumerism has given the average citizen more purchasing power, it has also affected the way companies view their own product. Since people are so involved with their own lives, it is not surprising that they would want to make sure that what they are buying reflects their personalities and lifestyles. This is why many companies have included specific segments of the population in marketing and advertising campaigns. They target these groups with their products, knowing that they will offer something that is in line with what these consumers want. For instance, food companies often include a healthy food section in their advertisements, knowing that these consumers will be looking to buy food products that will appeal to their health and lifestyle.
The question on the minds of most people is: What is consumerism? This is not a simple question, considering that consumerism affects almost everything in our world today. Most people are quick to point out how consumerism has affected their own lives, making them look at products and services from a different perspective. This is especially true when it comes to the way that products are advertised.
In order to define or understand consumerism, one first needs to ask oneself: What is this thing called consumerism, anyway? Then, take a moment to consider all that this thing has done and all that it will continue to do. Next, watch all of the advertisements, magazine covers, music videos, and television shows that you currently consume.