It’s time to take a look at the consumer culture society has developed and its impact on you financially, physically, emotionally and mentally in comparison to the economy.
Consumerism has been the drive of significant economic growth across the globe and encourages innovation. This is achieved through a market-facilitated relationship between the consumer and the goods or services they consume, where the increased consumption of goods and services purchased in the market is always a desirable goal, one that a person’s wellbeing and happiness depend on fundamentally being the obtaining of consumer goods and material possessions. There isn’t inherently anything immoral with consumerism, but just by reading the above statement, it is not uncommon to feel that there is something wrong in the nature of consumerism. While very prosperous for an economy the effects of consumerism can, and do have an effect on you, here we will look at how this happens.
In every respect of consumerism, there are positives and negatives. Should you find yourself taking part in consumer culture, you may feel more motivated to work harder to achieve the financial goal in order to obtain the fiscal object you desire. This can be positive as it motivates you to improve your quality of life within a capitalist system, however, this only works should the object of desire be something that improves your life i.e. a new house, a better car – as long as it serves a fundamentally practical purpose or for more extreme cases a sentimental (life-long dream).
The negative side is where the object of desire becomes emotional to what one wants or a loose definition of what is practical. Should you become involved in consumer culture it is very likely and easy to fall into the trap where the fiscal object of desire changes rapidly as you achieve the financial goal and start purchasing items that you do not need, but want. This want is facilitated by the market and quickly spirals out of control costing you drastically more money than a productive relationship should. Here the innovation, instead of targeting the quality of life of the consumer and improving it, feeds off the consumer culture in an effort to further garner financial gain, draining your wallet in an uneconomical solution. There are higher rates of debt than ever before. Many people go into debt to obtain fiscal objects of desire and ‘live the dream life’.
Consumer culture also requires time and effort on the individual. Though online shopping has drastically eased the process of this, mindlessly scrolling through Tiktok or other social media platforms, while seeing affiliates or other consumers show off products not only encourage you to buy things that you don’t need, but this takes large quantities of your time rendering those hours unproductive.
The positive effect of consumerism on one’s emotions is that it provides desire and want which are positive emotions that will make one happy, though temporary as it only releases dopamine. The negative emotional impact can be pretty large as the system of consumer culture is where you become highly stimulated when consuming a product and the search and acquisition of the product. However, once completed the dopamine rush subsides and the item loses its value due to the temporary importance placed on it vanishing. This will leave a lot of people emotionally drained and unfulfilled. The value of something the consumer places on it is quickly replaced by another which leaves people in a constant state of desire while never reaching satisfaction.
The positive effect of consumerism on one’s mental health is a continuous hope and self-promise of a better future which helps any present discomfort or suffering less painful and provides a sense of comfort for oneself. The negative effect of consumer culture and consumerism takes a mental toll as all of the three previous issues will impact your mental health. Social media is a great medium of consumerism, As the more recent generations are exposed to consumer culture through more integrated ways, the negative effects can be seen on the mental health of the youth. The current generation has experienced far more body dysmorphia and depression than any past generation, largely due to the fact they often feel they are not able to live this ‘best life’, where they feel the entire time they try to reach this dream life while hating the current situation. Though due to never remaining satisfied with attaining your goals, you will likely spend the majority of your time disliking the current situation you’re in. This can and will cause a huge mental strain as you remain stressed and unhappy throughout the majority of your day-to-day activities.
Wanting to learn how you can avoid consumer culture through fostering a healthy mindset, click here.