For most of human history people owned more or less nothing. Individuals would at maximum own a pot, the clothes they stood in and if they were extremely lucky maybe some farming equipment. In the 18th century in western Europe economies started to expand. The more the people spent, the more the businesses grew and the more the salaries raised. This vicious cycle hasn’t stopped ever since and it caused a new ethic to appear: consumerism.
More specifically, the modern capitalist economy must constantly increase production if it is to survive, like a shark that might swim or suffocate. But the increase in production is not enough. Somebody must also buy the products, or businessman and investors alike will go burst. This is exactly why consumerism was created, to prevent this catastrophe and make sure people will always buy whatever new stuff an industry produces.
But how this phenomenon has succeeded?
By using psychology in order to manipulate people. They made us believe that we should “Treat and spoil ourselves”, not oppress them. That having more products is a good thing and that’s how all of us are guilty of ending up with products we didn’t initially need or didn’t even know existed in the beginning. Not all of us need 10 pairs of shoes, but yet again we still want to buy more and more. All of us have fallen into this trap, and all of us are considered “good consumers”.
However, we should be more aware of this effect and accept that we are all victims of it. When you go to the supermarket and you check the pasta boxes, you will see that every pasta is made of the same ingredients but some people just choose the most expensive option just because the name of it is more popular (surprise! Its just that the company invested more on the marketing of the brand) and we instantly assume it’s going to be better. We have to be more wise of the choices we make. Before buying something we have to truly think if need it or if us buying it is just because of a marketing scam.
Authoress: Margarita Mouka