Consumerism in Modern Society

Essay by whitecuHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2014

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

3B Consumerism Essay


While infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible, human beings have and continue to consume. Consuming necessities in life such as food and water are necessary for survival, yet faltered human desires have led to addiction and the need to consume more, a belief known as consumerism. Consumerism has been recognisable in the ancient civilisations of Ancient Egypt, Babylon and Ancient Rome, yet emerged from the particular social, political, cultural and technological context of the Industrial Revolution. The ideology takes the act of consumption and manipulates it into our definitive role as social beings, with multi-billion dollar corporations and advertising companies 'pulling the strings' and reaping the rewards of our desires and need for more. There are many opponents to consumerism existing in the modern world, one being the Catholic Church, who, in its social teaching, teaches that consumerism is detrimental, as its clouds mankind's true purpose and intentions.

The Church explains further that consumerism impacts the desire for freedom, as people begin to shun God from their lives and 'worship' the endless cycle of consuming which gives them temporary satisfaction and happiness. Scholars such as Vincent Miller have outlined the impacts of consumerism on contemporary society and the desire for freedom, while also incorporating possible solutions to this universal issue.

Body 1 - Origination of Consumerism, impacts on society and environment

The origins of consumerism refer back to ancient times yet more prominently in the Industrial Revolution, which increased the availability of consumer goods and subsequently led to the rapid development of the middle class. This completely redefined the class structure, as 'normal' people could not only afford the bare necessities in life but luxuries as well, "The rise of mass production also made products cheap and widely available, entrenching the system." (Miller) Smaller...