Thursday, October 31, 2019

Economic Effects of Consumerism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 words

Economic Effects of Consumerism - Essay Example The purpose of any economic system should be to meet the basic inescapable demands of its members in an affordable and sustainable manner. However, when the aspect of consumerism comes into effect with its emphasis on conspicuous consumption, the system gets thrown out of gear. The production-consumption cycle becomes a vicious spiral that is difficult to break. Some of the economic effects of consumerism are: Planned Obsolescence / Dissatisfaction. Rather than striving for a state of equilibrium, consumerism dictates that there must be an exponential increase in demand. Hence the advent of the 'disposable' culture which is aimed at increasing demand, as well as sustaining it. This is coupled with advertising which creates a felt need where none existed before by projecting existing products obsolete. This encourages the viewers to 'junk' his old model and buy a new one. These two factors combined serve to promote consumerism to unhealthy levels, but at the same time promote growth and competitiveness. Environmental Effects. ... overcome these limits, most inventions and discoveries have sought to promote consumption rather than trying to rein in consumption in order to bring consumption (demand) and production (supply) into a state of equilibrium. The economic costs of environmental degradation are never factored in as they would make products un-competitive. Promote Inequality. The most glaring drawback of consumerism, however, is that it promotes inequality, by widening the gap between the world's rich, confined to a few countries and the world's poor, spread out all over the globe. "Globally, 20% of the world's people in highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditure - the poorest 20% a miniscule 1.3% " (UNDP). As demonstrated by these figures, consumption is a game of the rich. Increased production therefore does not in any way help to ameliorate the plight of the poor, but rather to satisfy the egos of the rich. In economic terms such a pattern is un-sustainable in the long term and will only result in a social revolution. Since the effects of consumption drive most economies world-wide its effects are also global in nature. The ill-effects of consumerism are well-known and documented; but economic imperatives often over-ride more pragmatic considerations in attempts to move towards a sustainable economic model. Consumerism though promoting growth is nevertheless, not only undermining the environmental resource base but it is also exacerbating inequalities. References Shah Anup, Behind Consumption and Consumerism. Retrieved from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 1998 Overview Wikipedia, Consumerism. Retrieved from

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