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In a nutshell, consumerism describes the rising want and need for goods and services. The interesting thing is, all the biggest examples are around us, but not everybody realizes it.
One huge example is the huge number of convenience stores that are open 24/7. Decades ago, they were practically non-existent. But because people find the need to consume and buy all the way until the wee hours of the morning, these stores have sprouted like mushrooms all over the country, that you probably couldn’t imagine life without the 7-11 around the corner.
Looking at how people make purchases can also be attributed to consumerism. Before, you needed cash inside your pocket each time you needed to make a purchase. Then, as people found a higher need to buy stuff, credit cards came into the picture. Now, you can buy products and pay for services without having to use cash! But that doesn’t end there. Now, you have tools like PayPal or Bitcoin that are as good as money, too. This evolution in payment schemes makes it evident that people are finding better ways to pay more, simply because they are buying more.
The consumer society became prominent in the 17th century and increased throughout the 18th century. While some say that the change was boosted by the increasing middle-class people who took new ideas about luxury consumption.
Many critics argue that consumerism was a social and economic need for the reproduction of capitalist competition for markets and was important to gain profits. Whereas others point to the increasing political strength of the international working class.
The more positive, middle-class peoples argued that this revolution welcomed the growth in construction of huge country estates mainly designed to provide maximum comfort and the increased availability of luxury goods aimed at a growing market. This included tobacco sugar, coffee, and tea. These were increasingly grown on huge plantations in the Caribbean as demand constantly increased.
These trends were greatly increased in the 18th century, as increasing wealth and social mobility increased the number of people with an abundance of income for consumption. The pottery inventor and entrepreneur, Josiah Wedgwood, noticed the way aristocratic fashions, themselves subject to periodic changes in direction, slowly decreased down through society. He boosted the use of marketing techniques to effect and change the direction of the prevailing tastes and preferences to cause the goods to be accepted among the rich people. It was only a matter of time before his goods were being rapidly bought up by the middle classes as well. Other producers started following his example and began getting profits.
There can be no consumption without production. If a population consumes more than it produces, this is ultimately unsustainable. Consumption is 70% of the US economy. Someday, this will collapse.
Consumerist culture isn’t just about buying things you want. It’s about convincing you that you need things that you don’t necessarily need or want and encouraging you to spend money on these things, sometimes even when you can’t afford them. This is a bizarre way to structure production – make stuff, trick people into buying it, so you can make more stuff to trick people into buying. A culture more concerned with growth, development, and improvement than superficial validation and instant gratification would be able to provide for actual needs and wants far better.
Consumerist culture also motivates people to go into debt, which is also an unsustainable thing, since loanable funds aren’t unlimited. It also sacrifices the future for the present.
In short, consumerism sacrifices the future for short-term immediate gratification. It is like an addictive drug, and withdrawal is going to suck.
I would wager that most people, up until a certain age, love celebrating their birthdays. There are so many wonderful things about having a birthday: the gathering of loved ones, the cake and, of course, the presents. For children, in particular, I would even go so far as to bet that gifts are the best part about birthdays. After all, who doesn’t love to receive presents?
Of course, as we get older, getting the things that we want is not limited to birthdays. Being able to buy things that we do not necessarily need, but the only desire is an ability that many people want to have relatively early on. I know that’s why I got a job at age 15. I was desperate to be able to buy my own clothes, my own CDs, and even my own car!
The desire to buy things that we want, apart from what we need to survive, is a huge part of the subject of today’s lesson. We’ll be talking about consumerism or the ideology that places value upon the excessive consumption of material goods and services.
Wastes are substances not produced for purposes in the market. Waste results from the extraction of raw materials; they form the lasting after the final usable product is produced. Prior to advanced economic growth and development, most communities not only in America but also across the world lived in extreme poverty. As a result, there was no much to dispose of as waste products; therefore, the environment remained helpful. This led to a peaceful co-existence between human beings, plants, and animals. However, with the increase in globalization and technological issues in this world, human beings continue to release more waste products to the environment. During the industrial revolution, industrial tycoons did not have much information regarding waste management. As such, they disposed their industrial waste to areas that were taken by human beings, and this resulted in health complications for the people. Also, waste from the industries led to environmental pollution; air pollution, for instance, led to acidic rain, which affected not only humans but also, animals and plants. It was not long before the governments realized that they had to work on issues regarding waste disposal and management.
Radioactive waste is the most dangerous waste and generates through byproducts. Radioactive waste is hazards for a human being and also for the environment. Radioactive waste naturally decays over time so, this waste has to be isolated and confined inappropriate disposal facilities for such period until it no longer poses a threat.
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