Consumerism is the equating of personal happiness with the purchasing of material possessions and consumption.
Most people I talk to today understand that humanity is inflicting harsh damage on the planet's life support systems of clean air, water, soil, and biodiversity.
However, they feel so insignificant among 6.2 billion people that whatever they do to lighten our impact on nature seems trivial. I am often asked, "What can I do?"
Well, how about examining our consumption habits. Not long ago, frugality was a virtue. However, today two-thirds of our economy is built on consumption. This did not happen by accident.
The stock market collapse in 1929 triggered the Great Depression that engulfed the world in terrible suffering. World War II was the catalyst for economic recovery. America's enormous resource base, productivity, energy, and technology were thrown into the war effort, and soon its economy blazed white-hot. With victory imminent, the president's council of economic advisors was challenged to find a way to convert a war economy to peace. Shortly after the end of the war, retailing analyst Victor Lebow expressed the solution: "Our enormously productive economy ... demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption.... we need things consumed, burned up, replaced, and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate."
When goods are well made and durable, eventually markets are saturated. An endless market is created by introducing rapid obsolescence (think clothing, cars, and laptop computers). Moreover, with disposability, where an article is used once and thrown away, the market will never be saturated.
Consumer goods are not created by the economy out of nothing. They come from the Earth, and when they are used up, they will be returned to the Earth as garbage and toxic waste. It takes energy to extract, process, manufacture, and transport products, while air, water, and soil are often polluted at many points in the life cycle of the product. In other words, what we consume has direct effects on nature.
Much of what we purchase is not essential for our survival or even basic human comfort but is based on impulse, novelty, a momentary desire. Moreover, there is a hidden price that we, nature, and future generations will pay for it too.
When consumption becomes the very reason economies exist, we never ask, "how much is enough?", "why do we need all this stuff?", and "are we any happier?" Our personal consumer choices have ecological, social, and spiritual consequences. It is time to re-examine some of our deeply held notions that underlie our lifestyles.
We all know that consumption and production are related with one another. As we are looking for the relationship between consumerism and culture, we have to know the cathedral of consumption as well as the cathedrals of production. First, we have to know it from our local perspective then we have to see it from the global perspective. Because, every production is now spreading all over the world and people are also used to consume those as a global consumer. Thus, we can see the effect of globalization as well.
Consumer brand classifications: Examines consumers’ perception of brands as influenced by their origins and the differences in classification ability between consumers’ knowledge levels. Specifically, culture-of-brand-origin (COBO) is proposed to have replaced country-of-origin (COO) as the most important origin influence regarded by consumers in their perceptions of brands. Culture-of-brand-origin is used to mean the cultural origin or heritage of a brand. Data were gathered from 459 respondents in the Asian city of Singapore; and used to assess Singaporean consumers’ ability to classify the cultural origins of fashion clothing brands. This was compared to their ability to classify the country origins of the same brands. Six brands were used in a between-subjects design, with three brands of western countries and three of eastern countries. Results indicate that consumers can more readily identify the cultural origin of brands over their country-of-origin. Reveals that a consumer’s ability to make this distinction is influenced by the consumer’s perception of how well he/she knows the brand.
As a Bangladeshi, we are used to wear normal cloths. This is the basic need of the people of the world. Few Bangladeshi is not used to wearer of normal Bangladeshi dress. Therefore, huge amounts of consumption are created. To manage this huge amount of consumption any country needs to have a big production on this very commodity. We can see a huge production of our own country dress in Bangladesh. Therefore, a culture is automatically created between the processes of this production. I mean, the whole settings of producing rice create a culture. For example, we can see some festivals like PAHELA BOISHAKH, POHELA FALGUN & much more' in our country during the later part of this production process.
Other way, Americans are used to wear western dresses. As they are to consume fashionable dress, they are to produce it or import it from other countries. By the settings of dress production, they develop a different culture from those who produce different fashion dresses. The culture consists of their living style, talks, films, songs, festivals and many other things. For an example: USA, UK, China, India, Russia, Australia and many other countries have their own culture, some common consumption and some unique consumption.
The main question is whether consumption influences the culture or culture influences the consumption. From my point of view, consumption and culture both influence each other's.
However, now-a-days culture is getting more dependent on consumption.
For an example: we can see a lot of fashion House in our cities and towns. Young generations are very attracted to that fashion house. These types of fashion house are giving them more satisfaction than the native one. Especially these fashion houses provide different fashions, which were not very common in 15 to 20 years ago. However, this culture of fashion entered to our consumption.