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Why is Consumption and Consumerism Important in a Contemporary Global Society - Essay Example

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Consumerism has been linked with strategies to persuade consumers to become “voracious, compulsive” consumers (Day & Aaker, 1970). One view of consumerism emphasizes the direct relationship between the individual consumer and the business firm…
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Why is Consumption and Consumerism Important in a Contemporary Global Society
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Download file to see previous pages It was designed to protect the rights of the individuals from the practices of both the business and the government. Consumerism has also been associated with the increase of material wealth of the American public, the depersonalization of shopping, and the support of prominent political figures (Bloom, 2001). It has also been defined as a theory that a progressively greater consumption of goods is economically beneficial (Emerald, 2004). Increase in material wealth leads to increase in consumption and lack of consumption restraint is an indication of consumerism (Shehryar, Landry & Arnold, 2001). This gave rise to feelings of guilt, anxiety, frustration and loss of control. This in turn led to massive consumer debts and global resource depletion. It can thus be argued that consumerism, associated with affluence, has detrimental effect on the individual and the society, and has caused economic and moral deterioration. Consumption is meaningful in today’s culture to the extent that the postmodern world is defined by consumption (Neilson & Paxton, 2010). Household consumption has grown excessively in the last 50 years which is evident from the considerable expansion in the places that consumers can choose to consume. The greed for consumption is responsible for directing human lives through their daily activities and dictating their long-term life goals. Studying the trends in consumer attitudes and opinions and examining the potential resource mobilization skills of the individual organizations making up the organization help in predicting the future of consumerism (Bloom, 2001). However, cultural shifts in the past decades are also responsible for the changes in consumer buying behavior (Shehryar, Landry & Arnold, 2001). Demand for non-essential items increased but only the affluent could afford to purchase them (Emerald, 2004). It is not known whether consumerism occurs naturally or spontaneously. However, it was felt that continual promotion and reinforcement could stimulate the desire to purchase the non-essential items. Through the use of technology and the mass media people could be convinced to buy goods of which they were unaware until the need was forcibly brought to their attention by the mass media. Advertisements lure the customers to make purchases that may be ‘desired’ but not necessary. They are perceived as pleasurable by the consumers as consumers are unable to distinguish between need and want, thereby leading to excessive consumption (Shehryar, Landry & Arnold, 2001). The government in the United States too supported the initiatives of the businesses to perpetuate demand for non-essential products. The focus, in the 20th century capitalism, shifted from production to consumption which in turn resulted in a shift from control and exploitation of workers to control and exploitation of consumers (Assad, 2007). Capitalism created a “controllable” consuming mass so as to complement the “producing mass”. It became essential to influence the consumers to spend as much as possible because increased consumption would justify increased production. Societies became consumer-oriented and the lifestyle of the majority of the Americans became the lifestyle of the consumers. This class spread what is known as ‘consumerism’. Multinational corporations distributing American products started having growing influence. The spread of consumerism globally was the result of global and local, social, economic and governmental factors. Consumption behavior was driven by emulation. Consumption started giving consumers an ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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