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Consumerism In Modern Society Essay

1469 words - 6 pages

3B Consumerism EssayIntroductionWhile infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible, human beings have and continue to consume. Consuming necessities in life such as food and water are necessary for survival, yet faltered human desires have led to addiction and the need to consume more, a belief known as consumerism. Consumerism has been recognisable in the ancient civilisations of Ancient Egypt, Babylon and Ancient Rome, yet emerged from the particular social, political, cultural and technological context of the Industrial Revolution. The ideology takes the act of consumption and manipulates it into our definitive role as social beings, with multi-billion dollar corporations and advertising companies 'pulling the strings' and reaping the rewards of our desires and need for more. There are many opponents to consumerism existing in the modern world, one being the Catholic Church, who, in its social teaching, teaches that consumerism is detrimental, as its clouds mankind's true purpose and intentions. The Church explains further that consumerism impacts the desire for freedom, as people begin to shun God from their lives and 'worship' the endless cycle of consuming which gives them temporary satisfaction and happiness. Scholars such as Vincent Miller have outlined the impacts of consumerism on contemporary society and the desire for freedom, while also incorporating possible solutions to this universal issue.Body 1 - Origination of Consumerism, impacts on society and environmentThe origins of consumerism refer back to ancient times yet more prominently in the Industrial Revolution, which increased the availability of consumer goods and subsequently led to the rapid development of the middle class. This completely redefined the class structure, as 'normal' people could not only afford the bare necessities in life but luxuries as well, "The rise of mass production also made products cheap and widely available, entrenching the system." (Miller) Smaller companies eventually increased their size due to the enormous profit of industrialisation, increasing their influence over mankind and heightening their feelings of greed and self-importance, entrenching consumerism into modern ideology. Consumerism differs from consumption, as while consumption is a necessity in all fabrications in life, consumerism takes the act of consumption and turns it into the defining act of our role as social and humane beings. The Catholic Church has made its stance known on consumerism, as their personal perspective is that consumerism is a, ""...a web of false and superficial gratifications..." (Pope John Paul II) and that the sense of 'fulfilment' that consumerism supposedly creates defies the first commandment, "There will be no strange Gods before me." Having material good dictating self fulfilment is equivalent to worshipping another God, and counteracts with the spiritual fulfilment provided by the Church, not only damaging spirituality, but society and the...

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