Consumerism is Beneficial to U.S. Society
Consumerism can be defined in different ways. First, it refers to the policies or movement targeted at controlling the services, products, techniques and principles of sellers, manufacturers and advertisers in the interest of the purchaser.
Such sort of control may be statutory, institutional, or exemplified in a charitable code agreed to by a specific industry, or it may occur indirectly from the pressure of consumer associations.
Consumerism also refers to the theory that a gradually superior use of products is economically beneficial. It can also refer to the accessory of money-oriented values or possessions which deplore the uncontrolled consumerism of the modern society (Twitchell, 2002).
Some people argue that consumerism has a lot of negative influence to the United States society yet more others argue that consumerism is actually beneficial to the US society. I strongly believe that consumerism is extremely beneficial to US society because the government, through its regulatory agencies makes sure there is consumer protection. Consumerism also enhances economic growth, competition between corporations and diversity of choices.
However, consumerism also makes the society materialistic. Highlighted are some of the reasons why consumerism is significant in US and they are supported with evidences from different articles mentioned. Reason A: Consumerism enhances diversity of choices
Evidence 1: There is too much in the world that makes people enjoy life and at least appreciate the reason why they are on earth. According to the article, Does Money Buy Happiness? written by Don Peck and Ross Douthat, it is clear that things that make people happy on earth include drink, food, entertainment and merchandise all of which are acquired with the availability of money.
Peck and Douthat argue that despite the fact that money cannot buy everything in life, they facilitate happiness. The authors provide evidence by stating that richer nations are generally happier than poorer nations because they have stable economies while the poorer nations suffer from unstable economies (Peck and Douthat, 2003). This is because richer nations offer its people with the chance to acquire several things through credit which enables them to buy goods or services in large quantities. Consumption also enables people to acquire a sense of status because they obtain numerous items and upgrades all through their life.
Evidence 2: The same concept of diversity of choices and happiness is outlined in the article, Enjoyment as an Alternative to Materialistic, by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly who argues that evolution has come with two motivational factors in life which are pleasure and enjoyment. These are some of the things which make people happy because once the economy of a nation is stable; it contains lots of companies which compete in production of goods and services that become easily obtainable making people happy (Csikszentmihaly, 2003). Enjoyment brings forth satisfaction which is brought about by making consumption our way of life.
This can only happen if there is diversity of choices which is also brought about by an extremely productive economy. Evidence 3: According to John Schumaker’s article, The Happiness Conspiracy: What Does It mean to be Happy in a Modern Consumer Society? Diversity of items and entities that promote happiness has made several people happy in the world especially in richer nations which stable economy.
Schumaker argues that personal happiness is extremely significant and it is the reason why there are how to be happy books, article, TV programs, websites videos and institutions offering happiness courses such as happiness counseling, joyology, life-lift and happiness coaching among others (Schumaker, 2006). All these exist to boost positive thinking and enhance the ability to be satisfied. Generally, diversity offers people a wide range of options when purchasing products and services. Reason B: Consumerism facilitates economic growth
Evidence 1: James Twichell states clearly in his article, Needing the Unnecessary that a person is not what he or she makes but what he or she consume. The moment a person is given the opportunity to choose what he or she will consume, everybody goes for the best. The best means what is good for them in terms of quality and benefits (Twitchell, 2002). The best can also mean satisfaction which defines consumerism.
Twichell is clear that what people consume depends with the availability of resources in the country and the economic status of a nation. A stable economy nation usually has diversity of products and services which makes it easier for people to acquire what their hearts desires for consumption. Evidence 2: The article The Happiness Conspiracy: What Does It mean to be Happy in a Modern Consumer Society? talks much about how to become happy in the modern society. It states that the initial thing that determines ones happiness is the stability of the nation.
Once the economy of a nation is stable, everything becomes okay (Schumaker, 2006). For example, if the economy of a nation is stable, essential products like food, shelter and clothes are always available in large quantities. Such products coupled with services like enhanced security and efficient water supply makes people live easy and satisfactory lives. Consumer happiness enables people to develop thus build on the economy of the nation.
Evidence 3: Don Peck and Ross Douthat’s article Does Money Buy Happiness? clearly states that richer nations are essentially happier than poorer nations and the more people are happy the more the economy grows (Peck and Douthat, 2003). Reason C: Consumerism enhances creation of employment and facilitates competition between companies Evidence 1: Csikszentmihaly confirms in his article that economic growth is all about stabilizing the nation through job creation and enhancement of production.
Once people are satisfied with what the nation offers, the shift goes to the production companies which have to be extremely competitive because happy people will always go for the best.
Evidence 2: Peck and Douthat also confirm that richer nations have happier people than poor nations because the citizens in richer nations easily get what they want including jobs and good products and services. Good products and services come across when there is stiff competition between the production companies.
Evidence 3: Schumaker states that what makes people happy in the modern consumer society is there satisfaction with what they get (Schumaker, 2006). This puts pressure on companies to produce high quality products because poor products will never get market in such societies. That is why US is a better place today because there are lots of quality products than in other nations. Refutation
Reason: consumerism is an addictive lifestyle which makes people materialistic. Evidence 1: According to Twichell (Needing the Unnecessary), people wish to live a good lifestyle just because they do not understand the negative impact of such a life. First, he mentions that luxurious lifestyle makes people always be addicted to unnecessary things which they can do without (Twitchell, 2002).
Evidence 2: Schumaker also mentions in his article that happiness makes people become materialistic since they adopts a culture which can lead them to go into unnecessary debts because they wish to purchase fashionable, best products in the market some of which they cannot afford (Schumaker, 2006). Evidence 3: It is clear that the satisfaction brought about by economic growth makes people become materialistic and choosey. They usually adopt the culture of going for the best in order to be satisfied.
According to the article Enjoyment as an Alternative to Materialistic, the problem of such addiction is that because life is not the same every day, people may sometimes suffer a lot when things go astray (Csikszentmihaly, 2003). For example, when a person looses a job and he or she is used to a luxurious life, it becomes difficult for such an individual to adopt a hardship life thus making them leave in a lot of pain and stress. Personal Experience
Sometimes back when I was still at my early teenage hood, I also thought life was all about wearing good and fashionable clothes, living luxurious life and enjoying every moment of my life since my dad was rich and could provide me with everything I needed.
This means that I had become too materialistic that I could not do without some things. However, my dad was thrown away from work after some misunderstandings. That is when I realized that the desire for material objects is actually a negative because it was too difficult for me to adopt the new life of staying without money (Twitchell, 2002). The new life was all about making ends meet not acquiring what my heart desired.
The only obligation my dad remained with was to make sure his family does not go without food but the rest, well, we could do without because we could not afford. It was extremely difficult for me to adjust because I was already addicted to a happy life and the transition affected even my performance in school (Schumaker, 2006).
Nevertheless, I do not regret that today because it was one way God used to show me that life is not all about being materialistic. In conclusion, I believe that consumerism is extremely beneficial to our society but it is important to note the effects of being materialistic. People should leave happy lives because it makes them healthy and progressive although they should be conscious about the impacts of getting addicted to consumerism.
Don Peck and Ross Douthat, (2003) Does Money Buy Happiness? Atlantic Media, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/01/does-money-buy-happiness/308430/ John Schumaker’s (2006). The Happiness Conspiracy: What Does It mean to be Happy in a Modern Consumer Society?
Retrieved from http://newint.org/columns/essays/2006/07/01/happiness-conspiracy/ Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, (2003). Enjoyment as an Alternative to Materialistic. Retrieved from http://depaul.digication.com/the_faces_behind_the_masked_villains/Rhetorical_Analysis_of_Enjoyment_as_an_Alternative
Twitchell, James B. (2002). Needing the Unnecessary. Reasons 34.4 retrieved from http://reason.com/archives/2002/08/01/needing-the-unnecessary