Is consumerism a pathology

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:English

Document 1

In such a case, consumerism is a movement promoting consumer protection through the encouragement of high safety standards, meaningful advertisement, and truthful packaging. The motive of consumerism is to enforce laws that allow for product guarantees and prevent unfair practices. Pathology is the science of how diseases work. In the current case, consumerism is a habit which has developed over a long period into a disease that required intervention because it has crippled the economy and rendered the ordinary person bankrupt. This paper will investigate the aspect of consumerism as pathology and will draw examples from the novel: ‘Fight Club” by Palahniuk. The inhabitants of first world countries have a higher consumption of goods and services, use consumables of a higher durability level and live in bigger houses as compared to those in developing nations. In general, their standards of living are on a higher level compared to the rest of the world. The difference is in the social indicators, for example, crime levels, suicide and family structure which tell a different story. The presence of stress, family breakdown, and loneliness in the developed nations are both a cause and a result of an increased economic activity. Depression and loneliness because of family breakdown or other external factors may push one to work long hours as a way of occupying the mind, to help forget the misfortunes. Similarly, most people tend to eat excessively, travel more, and seek counselling services when faced with stressful situations or when they are depressed. The consumption levels go up for both the services available in the market and the goods sold.

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Excessive consumption is a habit preferred by depressed people because it cheers them up. Consumption habits have shifted from the traditional methods which were centered on recreation and where non-consumptive activities like visiting friends or family and appreciating nature, were most preferred, to a deteriorating pattern in the natural and social set up where excessive consumption is the new norm. Isolation among people in the current environment is reinforced by upcoming industries that encourage indulgence in excessive and selfish consumption as a means of escapism. They have emphasized on the excessive use of drugs, food, and digital culture, creating a paradox in the economy where although the habits are disastrous to the health and well-being of those involved, it is good for economic progress. In extreme cases, for example, where suicide is involved, the pathological consumption is more harmful rather than rather helpful to the economy.

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However, the paradox is that although counterproductive consumption is not beneficial to the individuals involved, the economy benefits from the increased consumption levels and the whole situation results in a virtuous cycle for the economy. In the United States, the situation is well illustrated in the habit of most inhabitants who have popularized shopping as a recreational activity. Depression is decreased and happiness boosted by altruistic actions, which also reduce the associated tendencies of pathological consumption. The fight reaches its optimal level when the narrator's downfall is said to be caused by the consumerist lifestyle he has led and his obsession with material goods. The stereotypical American is represented by the character of the narrator, from which the reader can compare with his/her own consumer identity. It is a benchmark against which one can gauge their consumption index and up to a certain extent forecast the effect it would have on one's life, based on the experiences and final downfall of the narrator.

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While there is a difference in the degree of consumer identity across people in a society, they all face the same consequences of excessive consumption. An enormous value placed on finances characterize. The dependence of the society on consumerism is portrayed constantly through makeovers, (Humphery 130) where social acceptance and confidence are gained by a person when they modify their sense of style. Thus, the world is almost entirely defined by what one owns, hence the urge for individuals to keep changing their identity when a need arises. On the other hand, Kate Soper urges people to observe consumerism from a positive perspective. Her idea is that development and progress are synonymous with saving time and speeding. According to her, speed is convenient and may at times be thrilling. Lack of such demand would lead to an expiration of supply of the economy because producers would not produce when there are no buyers willing to purchase their products.

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Durden observes that most people, if not all, have been raised on the façade of the television with the belief that at one point in their lifetime, they will all turn to be rock stars, millionaires, and gods. However, the reality is that none of that is bound to happen. The more people are learning that fact, the more they are getting pissed off. The anger in some people has led them into accepting the reality and changing their mindset for the better. Excess. Polity Press, 2010. Miles, Steven. Consumerism. Sage Publications, 2006.

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