- Politics and Social Issues
Consumerism- Is it ever enough?
58% of the total amount of energy in the world is consumed by the richest five percent of the population
Is it ever enough?
Today the world is plagued with a deep psychological infection. It prevents people from ever truly being happy and causes more despair than recognizable. The United States especially is experiencing this fatal illness at a large scale. This disease is not airborne, nor can it be caught through contact with someone who has it, but rather it is spread by nothing more than an idea. This highly contagious ailment is known as consumerism.
Advertisements and industrial companies today lead people to believe that in buying a certain product, happiness can be found. Wearing a certain outfit, driving a certain car, and listening to a certain type of music can make a person feel content. These statements, however, are false. Michael Busch, author of “Adam Smith and Consumerism’s Role in Happiness: Modern Society Re-examined”, stated, “Consumerism has led to a growth of status consumption and want-creation, both of which increase consumption without contributing to happiness”. The simple act of purchasing an item can never truly create joy. Many people cannot grasp this concept, and this is where the roots of disease manifest.
Consumerism has more cons than it does pros. According to the 2008 World Bank Development Indicators, 20% of the world’s richest countries consume a total of 76.6% of all the resources on this planet, leaving a mere 24.4% for the other 80% of Earth’s population. Other countries are being deprived of basic necessities for the sole purpose of supporting a life of luxury for the richer countries. 58% of the total amount of energy in the world is consumed by the richest five percent of the population. Once a person starts spending their money they simply cannot stop and this has caused the planets resources to be unequally divided.
Despite a lack of money, people continue to use what little they do have to purchase unnecessary items. Everyone “needs” the newest version of the iPod and the newest gaming system. Teenagers simply cannot continue living until they have the most recently developed cell phone. Business executives continuously buy new planners, both electronic and not, to make an attempt at organizing their life. Parents spend hundreds on parenting books so they can try to improve their methods for raising their children. People buy these objects because they truly believe it will bring more pleasure to their life. It is not a mystery why people are struggling to pay their bills and the blame should not solely go to the individual but also each country as a whole for spending their cash unwisely.
The State of Human Development presents the public with information stating that the U.S. spends as much on cosmetics as they do on basic public education. On an international scale both the European Union and the United States devote twelve billion dollars to the perfume industry, and this is the same amount that the U.S. spends on public reproductive health for women. Around the world the spending for narcotics amounts to $400 billion dollars and military spending further exceeds that at $780 billion. With all of the money going toward unnecessary items a mere nine billion dollars is allocated towards public water and sanitation, and only thirteen billion dollars is dedicated towards public health and nutrition.
Government money is not going to the right places and it is setting a poor example for the public. Why should U.S. citizens be expected to sensibly spend their money when their own government is incapable of doing so? Consumerism is reaching drastic points and if anyone has any hope of clearing their debt they need to stop giving money away to useless items. Discover bliss through experiences and not material objects and do not confuse want with need. Refuse to become subject to the disease of consumerism.