Consumerism, a Serious Addiction

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Over the last half a century and a little more we, in the developed world, have fallen prey to a serious addiction, aside from that to oil, the addiction to consumerism, of always wanting more, more and still more.

In America this started, more or less, in the years immediately after World War Two, and really took hold in the 1950s and Western Europe began to follow this trend – for we started to copy everything American to our detriment by that time whether this be consumerism or McDonald's fast “food” restaurants – in the later 1960s to mid-1970s and we all became hooked and especially here the governments, to the growth model.

Economic growth and “Spend, Baby, spend!” became the mantra and it is still the same today; even worse maybe. It is an attitude that we cannot continue to support as it is simply unsustainable but then again it has been thus from the very beginning.

Frugality seems to have gone out of the window and when people try to be frugal and live more or less outside the consumer culture they are being likened by governments to terrorists because they do not do their bit to get the economy growing. This is total and utter madness.

We must get some sense back into our lives, as individuals, families and nations, and fight against this addiction which we have been drawn into by advertising and our governments even.

Consumerism is more dangerous to the Planet than any amount of so-called overpopulation.

While the population bomb is not healthy either our constant pursuit of more and more and yet still more seriously put everything in danger of collapse.

More and more energy has to be used to bring to the majority of the developed world – and to some extent now also of the emerging countries – the dream, for that is all that it is, of prosperity by having more than the neighbor, and much of it on credit.

We exploit the Earth in order to have more gadgets, more this and more that, and all of those things only last a few years when we need new ones because they are broken or obsolete and that if they even make is thus far and we do not want new ones already six month to a year down the road. This is just an unsustainable way of living and doing things.

Things and the amount of them do not provide happiness, and this is a proven fact and despite the fact that many of the plain people knew that already the governments had to conduct an expensive study to find this out. Not that they are going to tell the world now, for they want us to continue to buy more, and more and still more in order to “stimulate the economy”. Maybe the economy needs a good strong coffee. I find coffee stimulating.

The economy worked well in the old days when goods were made to last and often items, in fact more often than not, were passed on as heirlooms to other people, such as children and grandchildren, and this time is not really all that long ago. No one then seemed to be concerned about the growth of the economy and told people to spend, spend and spend to buy more, and more and still more.

In fact savings were encouraged, as putting money by for a rainy day and to save for things that people wanted. No one – or rarely – ever thought of buying anything on credit in whichever way. People saved for something that they wanted and then went and paid the entire sum, in cash.

What has happened to us?

© 2010