Today, consumerism has become the hallmark of many world economies. It is a common phenomenon in the west, but now world’s developing countries are trying to resorting it.
Consumerism means consumption of goods at high rates. The production and sales of goods determine the economy. The GNP (Gross National Product) is the sum of goods and services that are produced at a specific time for a specific period. The more goods/services produced and consumed by the customers the higher the growth rate will be. The nation’s prosperity is determined by the per capita income (PCI) of individuals living in it. If the purchasing power of consumers is high, the economy is considered to be doing well.
In society, people replace goods with new ones. They purchase them, use them, and then throw away. New goods take place of the old ones and so on. There is no concept of repair because people have much money to buy new goods. So, in the result, it leads to depression and recession and causes unemployment.
In western economies, consumerism is appreciated because the living standard is valued by person’s material possessions. There are some positive effects of consumerism listed below:
- Higher growth rate economy
- More industrial production
- More goods/ services available
- Increased production that results in employment opportunities
- More advertising to sell manufactured goods
- More comforts for living style
- A variety of goods/ services available in the market
There are some pitfalls also in a society. There may be material prosperity but, but it has big negative effects on the people and their society. These effects are as follows:
- High craving for food exist. The desires and wants of the people increases. If their income is better, there will be better purchasing power. In case, they cannot do so, they feel dissatisfied.
- They need to earn more and are forced to handle stress and other related tensions.
- Over dependency on labor saving devices.
- Material wealth is considered as deciding factor either the society is well developed or not.
- A car for every individual means the erosion of the public transport.
- As wants to have expensive gadgets increases, crime rate also increases in return. Thefts and daylight robbery become common in the society.
- People are busy in earning more and more to enhance their standard of living which causes problems in personal relationships.
- If cheaper goods are imported from other ones, thus, affecting the manufacturing industry’s growth.
- Consumerism causes ecological imbalances. Creating more goods can destroy natural habitat and more buildings affect the weather. Global warming result in health issues. So, industrial pollution affects the people in many ways.
- Consumerism is depleting the natural resources of the country.
- Psychological health may also get affected if desires or someone is not fulfilled. These include depression, envy, and jealousy.
The US is a consumer economy, known for its prosperity and material growth. But currently, the economy has come under the pressure of recession. Some people who have become unemployed are facing difficulty in meeting both the ends. India is also moving towards materialism but this is against its philosophical approach, which favors a non-materialistic and simple life.