The Global Epidemic of Human Spending: Consumerism
The act of buying out of want, as opposed to need.
What is it?
Every person, in every lifetime.
Who does it affect?
Where is it?
When did Consumerism Begin?
In order to grasp the present, it is imperative to understand monumental moments of the past.
Industrial Revolution. The creation of machines and technology .
Citizens begin spending more on commercial goods like Televisions. Line between want and need becomes blurred.
Technology and US Economy simultaneously flourished, resulting in the ability to produce and sell superficial goods.
How the introduction of Machinery into production shaped the lives of everyone.
Condensed supply chains allowed for factory owners and entrepreneurs to produce in bulk at accelerated rates.
Not only were companies able to produce substantial quantities at local factories, but did so at decreased prices through the use of Economies of Scale and Scope.
With the Purpose of?
The industrial revolution was the creation of machines and other early technologies. This spark of innovation forced societies transition from agriculture to industry.
Originating in Britain during the 18th and 19th century, machines and supply chains made popular by figures such as Adam Smith became popular methods of production.
1950's and Post WWII
After coming out of America's Great depression and Second World War, the United States government began perpetuating the concept of spending as means to grow the economy. Through retail and property tax, the economy began to thrive off mass consumption.
Citizens began spending to show socioeconomic status through lavish homes and cars. This gradual shift in dialogue from buying for necessity to buying out of want became evident in everyday life.
So....Why Should I Care?
Because objects consumers purchase are responsible for 60% of global green house emissions. They also take up between 50-80% of water and land use.
PROS & CONS
Worker conditions and pay in countries like Bangladesh will continue to decrease. Minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh is 95 USD per month. Shopping at brands like Zara and H&M increases the need for cheap labor from people in struggling countries.
PROS & CONS
Air pollution releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide. Chemicals of this caliber can cause cancer and disease for people in all areas.
PROS & CONS
How Can Companies Make Change?
Small steps won't do the trick. We need BIG solutions.
Create laws preventing the use of oil or coal. Force companies to go green.
Tax companies for producing too much carbon, and reward others for staying below benchmarks.
Shift direction from buy in bulk to less is more.
Change the Marketing Narrative
Companies Advocating for motto "Less is More"
Advocate for customers to buy items out of necessity. Empowers women to feel confident buying for need as opposed to want.
Ammara: Blouse Brand
Promote buying wardrobe staples that match intermix. Eliminates the need to buy multiple pieces at brands like Zara and H&M.
Cuyana Online Retailer and Brand
How Can I Make A Difference?
Reduce the amount you spend. Shift your perception on how you shop.
- Shop at places that advocate for worker rights and produce sustainable products.
- Go into buying goods with the mindset of "Do I really Need that?"
Small but still Important!
What is Fast Fashion? How is it Involved?
How do we know companies will be willing to play their part and eliminate waste?
Does Economies of Scale Impact Consumerism?
Does the amount of pollution vary per country?