Friday, 15 June 2007

How do we feel about consumerism?

Below follows some notable comments from readers regarding consumerism...

Scott Eaton said

“It's very true what you say about consumerism spreading, I read an article in "das Magazin" about how much space people live in in different countries and one of the questions was what is the item of most worth to them. One of the families lived in Mongolia in quite a small tent but the father answered the question with "my TV"... with the TV comes all the other "wants" and thus is the root of all evil.
I don't like the consumerist lifestyle (if you can call it that) but I do like things, my computer, my watch, my headphones, but i really try to judge what I want and why I want it, also if it's worth working for. My stereo is good but old and I'd like a new one but I don't think it's worth going to work more just to buy the new B&O if you get my drift.”
14 June 2007 10:02

21st Century Mummy said...

"Hi Tina - great article and thanks for the recognition. I love our chats. :-)

Consumerism has just gone plain mad, especially re children...each year I dread the Christmas pile that arrives from well-meaning friends & relatives. We have no room left for more toys and despite alternative just keeps coming...and we're not going to buy a bigger house just to store it all in ;-@.

Scott, you're so right about the TV. There's nothing quite like the ad which shows that you're not quite as happy as the people in the advert who have the latest 21st Century gadgets with the bells and whistles. Sometimes, I really think I belong in time far far away."

15 June 2007 05:48

Tina said

"Hi Scott & 21st Century Mummy

Scott - yes its true about the TV. I remember back in 1997 travelling around some far out places in Indonesia - where the villages had very little in the way of modern equipment and had no schools. They were extremely poor in wooden shacks - yet to my amazement there satelite dishes everywhere sticking out of the shacks..??? I remember wondering at the time how this made them feel. For years they had no contact with the rest of the world and survived on very little - then with one small addition to their belongings they were exposed to the western world and all the desires that go with it... yet they were in a position where they were completely unable to obtain such a lifestyle... I can't imagine what effect that would have on their psyche....

21st Century Mummy - consumerism gone mad where children are concerned... For sure.. As a woman who hasn't yet had a child, the thought of bringing one up in such a consumer environment scares the pants off me :-) Just the thought of the enormous responsibility is hard to bear - but when you start thinking of the surroundings they are going to grow up in, and all the conflicts with the children comparing themselves to their friends - and wanting what others have.... How on earth does a parent deal with that?? Its enough to make me want to leave the country, find some desert island somewhere - then have a child and educate him/her myself...."

What does everyone else think? Particularly regarding parenthood in a consumer world...


Scott Eaton said...

I'm not sure it's realistically escapable, it's our world, we made it and most of us like buying stuff even though that new Range Rover doesn't bring the freedom it advertises and that new dishwasher has not really given you so much more time to live. We are addicted, and not just our society, everyone has a thing they want, it's even one of the 10 commandments "thou shalt not covert thy neighbours goods". people have always wanted stuff the problem now is that we are judged to a degree on how much stuff we have and how expensive that stuff is instead of what type of person we are.This tells me that something is not right or has gone a little too far. In any case the only solution I can see is to not play along, or at least reduce the amount.
think i need to go and buy a new regulator...

Life Out East said...

Agreed with the views on consumerism. I feel it has all got seriously out of hand and people seem to have lost touch with the simple things in life.

That said, I think the UK is not as bad as many countries in Asia. I've just returned from living in Bangkok and the consumerist nightmare is beyond all levels of rational thinking out there. Those people are a marketers dream, they believe the hype put forth by companies 100%. If an advert tells them that they need such and such item to complete their life they all rush out and buy it.

I've tagged you by the way, with something I think you might like.

21st Century Mummy said...

The problem that we have today is that everything is so disposable and short-term. People get bored with things very easily. Take mobile phones. A perfectly useable phone can be the next land-fill item, not because there is anything wrong with it but because is is not as small or as multi-tasking as the next model. Interestingly, for word verification I have to type in the letters "hngghr", which aptly sums up how I feel about things.

Brian said...

We live in a society which promotes 'retail therapy', where people buy things as a means to find happiness , and it worries me, too.
Where it is cheaper to buy a new printer rather than change the ink (and when you try anyway. you're told the printer is now obsolete and you have to buy a new one) there is something wrong somewhere.
But I think it's a wider problem, and not one you can leave the country to escape, the world is a global market and multinational companies don't seem to care about global warming in their drive for profits.
At least in other countries there is still some depth and soul to their culture - maybe that's what we have lost.

Life Out East said...

Hey, did I miss something? Have you gone and escaped and not told anyone?

Carla said...

Well look at it now.....

We are on the verge of a recession??
People in houses they cannot afford because they WANTED it not NEEDED it.

People advised to lie to the bank about their income so they could get a bigger mortgage.
All the empty buy-to let apartments which have saturated the cities which the buyers are still having to pay a mortgage on.
How much debt is this credit card nation in?
Look at all the disposable clothes on the high street that are so cheap you can buy and throw away an outfit a week.

Will a recession assist with returning to compassion and tolerance? My fear is that the crime rate will just increase as people struggle to get what they want.

Anonymous said...

Hey Everyone. I recently read this book which might explain how we have arrived into such a consumerist world.

Status Anxiety - Alain de Botton

Worth a read if you want to understand the madness we are in, once you can understand it in part, it may help you to deal with it.