Slaves the plasticity of the human mind, as

Slaves Of Consumerism

            In this day and age, modern
marketing has produced a society of mindless, consumer robots that have become
detached from basic human needs. We as a society have become slaves to our modern
culture. This is all due to our society revolving around consumerism. Our
society consumes materialistic goods without any regard for the basic needs of
human life. We compete with one another to see who can acquire the most popular
brand name materials simply for the status symbol it holds. Todays market
economy is likely the blame for our actions, simply because mainstream media, and
commercial advertising, are implemented into our lives by big corporations who
need a infinite growth paradigm in order to continue economic growth.

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            In todays age of technology there
are many things that influence us in ways we don’t even see. Most of the things
we consider to be commodities are really just tools used by big name
corporations to control the way we think. Prime examples of this are, social
media and mainstream television. When you look social media what do you think
of? Most people just see social media engines as a way to communicate and stay
connected with family and friends. When in actuality all social media does is
create a way for us to look at others and judge them based on what they have,
or don’t have. Allowing others to influence our way of thinking and viewing the
values of life.

For example, when you get on twitter you
will see various different types of advertisements showing a famous celebrity
promoting a product. This product is advertised by that celebrity as something
you have to have. In return leaving you, the consumer, with this feeling of
need or want. “The more congested
the media landscape becomes the greater risk of harm there is to the public
interest. As powerful corporations grow increasingly wealthier, powerful,
influential, and politically affiliated the greater risk there is to the
political economy on a global scale. The risk inherent with affluential
transcultural media corporations is the mass homogenization of content and, thus, propagandist reinforcement of
corporate and political interests serving only the dominant elites
and, in turn, harming and marginalizing non-elites.” (McCloy 72)

This disease brought on to humanity can
be narrowed down to one central idea, which is a “value system disorder.” If
one were to make an argument on the plasticity of the human mind, as well as
how easily our environment can influence our thought process. The world of
commercial advertising is exhibit A.

If you take a step back and look at it,
you have to stand in aw at the level of brainwashing. Where people are these
programed robot consumers, who just wonder around and venture into a store and
only to buy, lets say, a $4000 hand bag that maybe cost $10 to make in a sweat
shop over seas. We seek to acquire these materialistic goods simply for the
status the brand represents in todays society. Or, maybe all the annual
holidays we celebrate, which originally were set in place to bring people
together in order to cherish family and friends. These traditions have been taken
over by inquisitive, materialistic consumption where people exchange useless
material goods with one another a few times a year. Which makes us wonder why
people have such an addiction to shopping and compulsive consumption. When it
is obvious that people in society have been conditioned since birth to expect
material goods from our peers as a status symbol with friends and family.

            “The fact is the foundation of any
society, or the values that support its operation, and our society as it exsists
currently; can only operate if our values support the conspicuous consumption
it requires to continue the market system. Seventy five years ago, consumption
in America, and much of the first world, is half of what we see today. Today’s
consumer culture has been manufactured and imposed due to the very real need of
higher, and higher levels of consumption.” (Joesph)

This is why most corporations do not
spend hardly any money on the creation of product, but rather the majority of
their spending goes directly towards advertisement. Corporation’s today are
working extremely hard to create a sense of need towards its customers, in
attempt to make it seem pertinent to your quality of life. The worst thing
about it is; it works. “As a major channel
between producers and consumers, world advertising is dominated by a few
multinational agencies who spend the most money and structure the industry by
developing and providing the advertising “package” needed by
multinational corporations to sell products.” (Lowe 1)

            This is all powered through those
who consider themselves to be “economists.” Even though they are proclaimed as
economists, this is not their true identity. They are simply propagandist to
the value of money. If you look at some of the most famous major market
economists, and the philosophies they have introduced. It becomes clear that th
rationale for basic human need is almost never incorporated into the “money
value”.

            So what exactly is consumerism?
Consumerism is the obsession of acquiring materialistic goods that has become
the American way of life. “Consumerism is the belief that personal wellbeing and happiness
depends to a very large extent on the level of personal consumption,
particularly on the purchase of material goods. The idea is not simply that
wellbeing depends upon a standard of living above some threshold, but that at
the center of happiness is consumption and material possessions.” (Dermody 1) Consumerism is often confused with capitalism or consumption.
To more thoroughly explain the difference between the two, we must first look
at Abrahams Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.

This methodology is a guideline system that explains how
people must first consider basic human needs before anything else when making
decisions surrounding consumption. “In his influential paper
of 1943, A Theory of Human Motivation, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed that healthy
human beings have a certain number of needs, and that these needs are arranged
in a hierarchy, with some needs (such as physiological and safety needs) being
more primitive or basic than others (such as social and ego needs). Maslow’s
so-called ‘hierarchy of needs’ is often presented as a five-level pyramid, with
higher needs coming into focus only once lower, more basic needs are met.”
(Burton 1)This is something that has evaded
mankind for a long time. The monetary market system simply does not allow for
this kind thinking in its process. For the value of human need, or environment
health is simply not justifiable in the market system. Materialistic goods are
always designed to fail after a certain length of time so when the newest
edition of a product is released, we the consumers have to buy it. However,
when you try to satisfy these basic human needs with the acquisition of
materialistic goods, consumption then becomes consumerism.

As it goes, consumerism in our country is just that. We are
mindless slaves to the world of commercial advertisement and business. The free
market world in which we inhabit has turned our society into a group of easily
influenced, consuming robots. Robots who are constantly on the look for the
“next new thing”, and living their lives’ day to day just working towards a
goal. That goal is just simply to acquire as many materialistic values as
possible, in an attempt to enhance their quality of living. This world of
ridiculous consumerism has brought us to a social paradigm, where we as a
society have become completely detached to basic human need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work
Cited

Burton, Neel. “Our Hierarchy Of
Needs.” Psychology Today, 2017,

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201205/our-hierarchy-       needs.

 

Dermody, Janine. “Green Consumerism: An A-To-Z
Guide.” 2009,

https://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/Chapter%207%20–%20consumerism%20–%20Norton%20August.pdf.

 

Joesph, Peter, director Zeitgeist: Moving Forward–The
Economic Hit man. Sideways

Film,
20120

 

Lowe, Elizabeth. “Corporations And
Advertising.” Culturalsurvival.Org, 1983,

https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-

quarterly/corporations-and-advertising.

 

McCloy, Frank. “Cite A Website – Cite
This For Me.” Web02.Gonzaga.Edu, 2018,

http://web02.gonzaga.edu/comltheses/proquestftp/McCloy_gonzaga_0736M_102 10.pdf.

 

 

            

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