This behavior can be characterized by the development of a compulsive behavior, in which the person consumes objects, services or food in an exaggerated way and without reflecting on the real need to make a purchase.
Thus, when talking about consumerism, it refers to investing in products that are not necessary, that is, superfluous items. Anyone who has this type of behavior is called a consumerist .
Causes of consumerism
To understand the causes of consumerism, it is necessary to understand a little about the reasons that led to its emergence. Consumerism definition
The growth in consumption habits occurs after the increase in industrial production , which occurs after the Industrial Revolution, when more investments were made in the production of services.
With investment in production, the amount of goods available to consumers grew more and more. And to sell what was produced, it was necessary to stimulate the desire to buy in consumers. As a result, consumption habits were increasingly encouraged and growing.
Over time, the act of consuming became associated with positive ideas, such as happiness, a feeling of satisfaction or being successful.
Consumerism, Capitalism and Globalization
For these reasons, consumerism is considered one of the problems caused by the existence of the capitalist system, being present in all contemporary societies. Consumerism definition
Another factor that contributes to consumerism is globalization , as it makes different products easily found in all parts of the world. Easy access to many products also helps to stimulate unbridled consumption.
In addition to the growth of industrial production and the expansion of the capitalist system, there is the emergence of the advertising market. Along with the means of communication, which easily reach all people, it also influenced the increase in consumption.
From the growth of consumption came the expression consumer society , which represents the relationship between consumer behavior and capitalism. In the consumer society, the production of goods and services is excessive in relation to the need and demand of consumers.
The Polish philosopher Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017), who studied the subject, argued that modern society was basically composed of consuming people. He understood that excessive consumption habits had a direct influence on the formation of individuals’ identity, making it difficult to understand them as human beings and not as goods. Consumerism definition
Consequences of consumerism
Over time, the increase in consumption has changed people’s lifestyles. Today, it is known that consumerism can generate numerous consequences, such as indebtedness and the emergence of diseases such as anxiety and depression .
The presence of these characteristics can, for example, indicate the existence of a disorder called oniomania . This pathology is characterized by an obsessive behavior in relation to the act of buying.
In general, this disorder can more easily affect people who have a high degree of stress or anxiety. However, it does not mean that only anxious or depressed people develop the pathology, as not all people with these characteristics will develop oniomania.
Consequences for the environment
Consumerism also causes damage to the environment, such as excess production of waste , in addition to the large amount of pollution generated by industries. Currently, it is already known that excessive consumption is not a sustainable alternative and causes severe impacts to the environment. Consumerism definition
E-waste is a more recent problem linked to increased consumption. Nowadays, the consumption of electronic products is increasing and the durability of these products is not so extensive. This is mainly due to programmed obsolescence (shortening of a product’s useful life to stimulate the consumption of new goods).
Difference between consumerism and consumption
Consumerism and consumption refer to the act of buying, but the terms have different meanings. Consumerism is the tendency or habit of shopping in excess, that is, beyond needs or without a specific purpose.
Consumption, on the other hand, means the act of buying or acquiring a good or a service, for example. However, unlike consumerism, it does not necessarily mean exaggerated behavior.
Lows merism , formed by the words low and consumerism , can be translated as “little/low consumption”. It is a more recent movement that seeks to get people to reflect on their consumption habits. Consumerism definition
Lows merism does not only propose reducing consumption, the most important thing is to make people aware of the role that consumption plays in their lives.
Reflections proposed by the movement are:
- question the real need to acquire a new good,
- stimulate creativity to reuse products and objects,
- practice more sustainable consumption habits,
- reflect on the manufacturing policies of the companies from whom they usually consume,
- question the quality and quantity of information consumed,
- understand the environmental impacts generated by acts of consumption. Consumerism definition