Consumerism Effect on Culture

Consumerism and its Effect on Culture

Consumerism is the human culture that encourages consumers to purchase and acquire products in a bid to keep the trade alive (Apecsadmin, 2016). In a society that operates by consumerism culture, there are more adverts and competitive prices that are aimed to make the consumers purchase more products and create existent demand. Currently, the resources’ consumption is alarming. “About 59% of the world’s resources are consumed by 10% of the population” (Greentumble Editorial Team, 2016). This culture comes with a range of pros and cons. It makes the community to perceive purchasing and acquisition of materials as happiness rather than satisfaction of needs. The members can easily judge their colleagues on their materials such as fashion and automotive.

As a result, there is increased unnecessary purchase by those who have which in turn increases pressure on the existing natural resources. The consumerism behavior is more rampant in the US and the United Arab Emirates. Research has shown that if everyone’s consumption scale was equivalent to that of an average American, we would require 4 planets to sustain our lifestyle (Greentumble Editorial Team, 2016). As per this research, the consumerism causes more cultural harms than benefits (Shah, 2005).

Consumerism causes destruction to the environment in the long run. The human population has insatiable cravings for resources which makes increases the pressure on the natural and man-made resources. Whether the required resources are natural or man-made, there is a direct or indirect impact on the world resources. In case of food products, they are mostly derived from farms and where they are manufactured; there is environmental degradation that results from disposal of industrial waste.

There is increased cultivation of land to satisfy the demands and in the process sustainable farming methods are not practiced since the aim of the farmers is to make profit. Farming is accompanied by expansion and land clearance which is achieved via deforestation therefor causing climate changes. Other farming practices like livestock and poultry farming has also been associated with environmental degradation which also have negative cultural effects (Shah, 2005).

Consumerism Demand

Since some plants are more demanded than others, those whose demand is high are cultivated in expense of others leading to loss of plants diversity. It also leads to cultivation of non-food crops such as sisal and flowers which are in demand and therefore hunger is the long run outcome. Another example is where these animals consume a lot of water and also cause pollution to the water sources.

Most interestingly is the finding that some of these animals are fed with more grains while some poor persons are starving in some part of the world.The poor lacks any otherwise than to believe that money brings happiness making them to be willing to do anything to acquire financial properties. There is communal disintegration and loss of unity where some animals are valued by their owners, more than fellow human beings (Shah, 2005).

The culture is also one of the leading causes of poverty. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening as time goes by. The population now perceives and judges their colleagues on their material possession which is very evident from the dressing to gadgets possession. There is this mindset that exists to those who ‘have’ that the poor can use the resources to be rich too.

However, this is not applicable as there is resources inequalities between different regions and individuals. The widening gap between the rich and poor is so wide that when the rich are disposing the leftovers some have nothing to eat. A saddening case is where some spend their cash on relatively useless products such as ice cream while others cannot afford a basic lunch. However, this is perceived to be normal particularly in the US (Shah, 2005).

Cultural effects are also a function of health issues, joblessness and rural-urban migration. Consumerism causes health problem to the poor due to malnutrition and to the rich due to over consumption. Over-consumption health issues are those related to obesity and dormant lifestyle. The rich have a tendency of eating at wish and driving right from their door-step to their different destination. As a result, they have high chances of contracting lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases. The rate of joblessness may increase due to reduced compensation rates and increased workloads as the poor compete for these opportunities to make their ends meet.

There is also increased rural-urban migration as most people move to the urban places to try their luck. This causes labor imbalance in the rural areas where there are productive farms as most people travel to the urban area. Food shortage is the outcome and as the law of supply and demand indicates, food prices rise as a multiplier effect of consumerism (Shah, 2005). To neutralize this effect, the people have to have a means of buying and acquiring these foods for their survival.

The rich got some high purchasing powers and may displace the poor from their native land. The likely outcome is that the rich may not use the land on productive manner such as food production but instead build an expensive home causing food shortage. On the side of the minority, they will be forced to migrate to other unfavorable places such as near wildlife increasing the cases of human wildlife conflict (Shah, 2005).

Consumerism Marketing Dissertations
Consumerism Marketing Dissertations

Environmental degradation and cultural effects are also caused by mineral and fuel excavation. Consumerism causes increased demand on automotive and electronics. With the emergence of industrious countries such as China, there is increased excavation to meet the demand for metals. Research has indicated that the current generation has broken the past consumption. Sustainability calls for use of resources without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

It is however clear that with the current consumption rates, the future generations’ abilities to meet their future needs are compromised by the consumerism and capitalism culture. One of the fueling factors of this culture is that the developed countries are the ones advocating for sustainability and minimal use of resources. These efforts are seen as neocolonialism as these developed nations already used resources to develop their states but they want to regulate other states. Worse still is the case of European countries who amassed resources from other countries to attain their status (Shah, 2005).

Consumerism culture has also led to exporting pollution from the developed states to the developing countries. Excessive consumption has increased the pollution rates from industrial wastes. Regulations are in place to regulate pollution where the firms are required to develop more efficient ways of processing their products when their emission exceeds a certain limit. Instead of improving their systems, some firms are opting to move some of their manufacturing branches to the developing countries where there are fewer regulations and lower pollution impacts.

Due to this, the developing countries manage to maintain serene environment in the expense of poorer states in the name of foreign investment. The culture also promotes some inhumane activities such as exporting potentially dangerous materials to be recycled in the poorer states such as computer monitors. These activities are hazardous to the local community and may lead to health problems. However, these countries of origin do not care about these as they are not concerned by the needs of others (Shah, 2005).

Consumerism has also triggered social injustices revolving around poverty, land control and ownership. The ideology has increased desire for wealth which causes some sort of jealous. Individuals want to be rich while others are poor so that they can control them. They are willing to make money even via unethical means. For instance, instead of preventing a disease outbreak, some want it to occur so that they can supply medicine to the affected region and make money in their private healthcare facilities. In all these cases the developed nations’ population is to blame (Shah, 2005).

Consumerism and Purchase Power

The emergence of purchase driven economy has also presented a risk to the consumers. The marketer already know that the consumers are purchase driven and therefore they want to come up with affordable products. In the process they may compromise quality for example in the health sector. The low quality electronics may cause health problems or disasters such as fire while poor quality health services may cause drug resistant form of diseases or deaths (Logan, 2016). The ideology is also associated with moral implications. This occur where the population perceive money as the source of happiness while this is not the case always.

Money is good but may not buy sleep, good health among other valuables (Apecsadmin, 2016). Poor working environment and compensation scale may arise as company owners attempt to lower the prices of they products to attract a bigger market. “The culture undermines the social cohesion due to internalization of highly destructive values of replacing everything with money” (Logan, 2016).

The common trend with this ideology is based on human psychology and sociology studies. Human beings are insatiable in their desires and therefore it is believed that demand will exist in the presence of supply. “Consumers were acting unwisely that consumer behavior perhaps did not solve to advance their standards of living or more general goals was generally dismissed as paternalist” (Goodwin, Nelson and Ackerman, 2008).

The extreme desire of acquiring properties will cause the consumers to go against some doctrines such as that that requires people to avoid coveting in the Christianity religion. Covetousness a may encourage some criminal activities such as robbery and interfere with the existing cultures. As a result, the moral standards are eroded and decay and turmoil of families, neighborhoods and the society (Teshome, 2017).

With all the above mentioned cons of consumerism, it also has some few pros. When correctly implemented, it may cause the consumers to purchase more and this is an advantage to businesses. It may reduce the costs of living due to the drop of commodity prices in the market. The increased demand will also call for more manpower and this may leads to increased employment opportunities. For these pros to be realized, consumerism has to be managed as contrary may happen for example increase of workloads instead of employing more personnel (Apecsadmin, 2016).

In my opinion, consumerism is not a good idea as its cons exceeds its cons. It leads to perceiving money as the source of happiness. It has contributed to the widening gap between the rich and the poor. There is significant degradation of environment due to inappropriate consumption of use of resources. It has caused rural urban migration as people move to try their luck.

Researchers have clearly indicated that our consumption exceeds the historical records and should we continue in the same way, we’ll definitely compromise the ability of the future generations to meet their own need. The ideology has also increased the health issues from malnutrition and over consumption. It also causes unfair competition where the rich continues to rich while the poor continues to be poor.

The possession own money among other resources make the owners feel a kind of superiority and despises the less fortunate. The ideology causes corruption of morals as the desire for wealth exceeds and the poor attempt to look for alternative means of acquiring wealth. There is resources inequality between the developed and the developing countries. The developed countries takes advantage of their position to transfer their waste to the developing countries.


Apecsadmin. “6 Pros and Cons of Consumerism.” (2016). This articles has been written   organization site’s admin. It covers the various pros and cons of consumerism though in brief and therefore facilitated writing of this paper.

Goodwin, Neva, et al. “Consumption and the Consumer Society.” (2008). This reference is relevant as it elaborates the relationship between consumption and the consumer society. It reveals the rationale behind different consumption patterns. The paper’s subject is also covered by this source and from the fact that it is an academic article, its information is reliable.

Logan, T. Collins. “What are the advantages and disadvantages of consumerism?” (2016). This reference is very brief but direct to the point. In this source source, you will find the pros of consumerism.

Shah, Anup. “Effects of Consumerism.” Glabal Issues (2005). This article by Shah is a scholarly article that is very wide in scope. For instance, it has been cited in most parts of this paper. It has provided solution to various dimensions of this paper.

Team, Greentumble Editorial. “The Negative Effects of Consumerism.” (2016). This reference by the Greentumble editors is very relevant. It has concentrated on the negative effects of consumerism supporting the paper’s thesis statement. Compared to the other sources, this particular source is focused to the main topic.

Teshome, Mengisteab. “Culture of Consumerism Effects and Society.” (2017). This article by the Ethiopian Government Press takes a new perspective on the subject matter. It has analyzed the effects of consumerism in the society and how it is being utilized by marketers.

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New Deal Liberalism

New Deal Liberalism – Destabilizing Corporate Power or Reviving Capitalism?

Introduction: The Beginning Stages of the New Deal Movement

Between 1933 and 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt created a series of policies that eventually inspired innovation and economic growth in the United States. His former interpretation of the New Deal Movement, however, was not likely a planned response to a serious economic downturn, one which affected America’s past and caused one of the most horrible economic depressions in United States history. Before it became a more structured idea, it existed as a hasty movement fueled by frantic desperation (Auerbach, 1969). In his text, Auerbach likens this historical movement to a bandaid used after emergency surgery, as a means of depicting how rushed this movement truly was. While this movement was vaguely inspired by the age of enlightenment, it was based very loosely on individualistic principles of free speech, and the notions of unalienable rights. But conceptually speaking, it could not be easily defined.

Working class individuals were grappling greater levels of power in both their professional lives and in the political realm. As noted by Cohen, they formed the New Democratic Coalition, “To promote a notion of government that protected the well-being of ordinary Americans,”ensuring a more “activist federal government” (Cohen, Making a New Deal, pg 3). The new role of government now entailed supporting the welfare state (Cohen, Making a New Deal, pg 3). There was a transference in goals from the concept of capitalism, to that of the welfare state. (Cohen, Making a New Deal, 8). Mass consumption became an ordinary fixture in American life, and was most notably observed during the post war era of America, as well (Cohen, Making a New Deal,113).

It was based on a few, central beliefs, such as the goals of relief, recovery and reform (Berkin, 2011). Relief for impoverished and unemployed citizens, recovery of the ailing economy, and the reform of the country’s checkered financial infrastructure. As noted by Cohen, there were numerous religious and ethnic organizations that catered to the poor and homeless, exhausting their financial esources with free soup kitchens (Cohen, p 220). The power of the Democratic party increased (Cohen, p 3), and they exercised a frontal assault on previously touted corporate and capitalistic norms. Once again, the working class population unionized, demanded more rights, and gained more political power in the Democratic party (Cohen, Making a New Deal, pg. 3). Careworn skeptics were against this movement in its earliest stages, etching a major division throughout the nation, dividing conservative Republicans and liberals.

Liberals were forced to change beliefs and convictions once firmly held by society. The original ideas that gave rise to the New Deal Liberalism were gradually changed, along with the societal landscape of the time. These ideas, which sprouted from the very depths of the Great Depression and World War II, were eventually replaced by more fitting ones, ones which were more adapted to the growing bureaucracy of the time. Hence, a consumer-centric economy became the principal focus of the “New Deal Liberalism” economy created by FDR and Congress at the time. As expressed in Cohen’s introduction of making a New Deal, mass production became very common as well. While entrepreneurs and businesses had initially achieved prominence in the nation, consumers began to gain more power and mass production became more common. Furthermore, the working class became militant in their efforts to reclaim control, which is a concept frequently highlighted by Cohen.

The Elusive Meaning of New Deal Liberalism

Many contenders battered this principle with ridicule, deeming it awash of substance and an identifiable concept. Lacking organization, it left many baffled and unable to truly define and grasp what New Deal Liberalism truly was. While the notion of New Deal Liberalism remains fairly unclear for some, it once conveyed the lessening of corporate and capitalistic control, and the deference of power and influence to the consumer and governmental agencies (Alexander Hicks). This differs markedly from its initial definition, as it now promoted the enactment of infrastructure and social welfare programs. The welfare state was now growing in increasing popularity (Cohen, 3). The dispersion of economic power became the primary concern in latter models of the New Deal Liberalism movement. While the New Deal Liberalism movement developed into a vaguely delineated program, it burgeoned idealistically into a more tangible concept, one that would ultimately be defined as a consumer focused society predicated on the beliefs of social equality. For example, Cohen discusses how an idea sprouted into unions, welfare programs, political protests, and cooperation among working class individuals of all ethnicities.

Utilizing the tools of an operative, state apparatus, liberals were able to fine tune the principal role of the government, as an entity responsible for the social welfare of its peoples. In the context of the New Deal Movement, the federal government gained more control, and Democratic, working class liberals advocate welfare programs, which benefited the impoverished (Cohen 3, 220). Many of the nation’s greatest struggles were attributed to capitalism, and the government’s preeminent role was to revise any flaws perpetuated by this capitalistic structure. They envisioned a redistribution of wealth and income that would stabilize in the nation. Even staunch proponents of corporatist ideals wished to buffer the control exercised by capitalists and corporations at this time

The Evolution of New Deal Liberalism

Towards the end of 1937, New Deal Liberalism as movement began to wane, and it gradually and decisively evolved into ideological rationales based less on political discourse, and more on social welfare. This idea, however, should be noted not as a fact, but as a conclusion based on the events that transpired during this era. For example, while many militant liberals formerly opposed capitlism, these anti-business sentiments eventually dissolved. This may be a result of America’s ideas about individualism. Som even argue that the social welfare state did not last and that leftist activism was strictly discouraged. Jefferson Cowie and Nick Salvatore argued this point, reminding readers that the welfare state would disappear if conservatives gained power (Cowie and Salvatore, 2008). The transmutation of this idea occurred with many gradually accumulating, miniscule changes that were imperceptible to liberals at the time. By 1945, this idea had matured markedly.

Factors Contributing To the Evolution of New Deal Liberalism

The pre and post war era was reshaped and molded by a slew of converging factors. Urbanization was beginning to proliferate throughout the nation, and this aided the maturation of these ideas. Factories and other industrial jobs were growin in popularity, and working class individuals took on these opportunities, as described in many of Cohen’s narratives in making a New Deal (Cohen, making a new deal). A waning level of power and influence was noted among merchants, capitalists, etc. In this world of destabilizing control, bureaucracies ascended the rankings, and governmental agencies enveloped the sources of power once reserved for the corporate world. Once again, Cohen touches upon this idea by highlighting the formation of federal government powers (Cohen, Making a New Deal, pg. 3). Furthermore, these ideas evolved as consumers grappled increasing levels of political and public control. The exceptionally wide range of ideas that defined New Deal Liberalism were often marked as a master class of obfuscation, with very little clarity. Both Alvin Hansen and Richard Hofstader proved that they were not uncritical defenders of this idea (Cowie and Salvatore, 2008). Instead, they repeatedly cite their apparent confusion with what this idea truly encapsulated. But as years progressed, social welfare and economic reform became the most predominant ideals of this movement (Cohen, Making a New Deal, 3).

New Deal Liberalism
New Deal Liberalism

Conflicting Definitions of New World Liberalism

Many fiercely competing belief systems detracted from the overall coherence of this idea. This concept required some time to take a unified, coherent form. One particular sector of society comprised firm contenders against capitalism, whom attributed the nations problems to the centralized and potently concentrated power of the capitalistic economy and corporate structure. This fueled unionization among many working class groups (Cohen, Making a New Deal, 3). Other opposing parties upheld an alternative facet of New Deal Liberalism. Some offered compelling arguments to support the integration of governmental authority with control with the economy. Others proposed radical leaps of change, purporting that capitalism became obsolete after the events of the Great Depression, and that an entirely novel system was needed to fully restructure the country’s economy. However, many scholars have reflected back, calling this a form of communism or socialism. In The Age of Roosevelt: The Coming of the New Deal, 1933-1935, it is noted that Harold Lare led a communist movement, along with many other radicals at the time (Schlesinger, 1959). Hence, New Deal Liberalism was a dispersive movement that fragmented the population into varying directions. In spite of its conflicting framework, this idea did grow and develop over time into a more clear, and organized set of ideas.

A Communal, Consumer-centric Vision

There were major attempts to centralize and restore the equity of power in various facets of society as indicated by the leftist activism discussed (Cohen, 3). This emerged most notably in regional and agricultural planning, as noted by the Agricultural Adjustments Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Infrastructure projects, including bridges and irrigation systems, were a defining feature of the New Deal Movement. Furthermore, social welfare programs increased rapidly as this movement was developing. By 1945, this idea bore little resemblance to that of its earlier days. The initial opposition to capitalism dissolved. Instead, this latter model began to propose a inter-depedent framework comprising both state-level control and capitalism, in which the state would ameliorate capitalism’s flaws. The crux of this newly revised ideological model proposed the expansion of an all-encompassing welfare state. The anti-monopoly sentiment still pervaded the air of this time, but the efforts shifted to a differing type of reform. This new type of world view was based on Keynesian economic, which will be discussed.

The new model of New World Liberalism was one in which the corporate world and the social welfare efforts could coexist and manifest an economically healthy environment. Instead of penalizing the financially elite, these new liberals concocted a very different approach, deeming the government responsible for protecting the industrial world’s well being. Instead of merely reforming the economy, they believed it was necessary for the government to expand it as well. In essence, the newly proposed model of social welfare and reform would serve as a cultivating atmosphere in which corporations could grow steadily within the contextual framework of the society and economy. In essence, the government was expected to supply the capitalistic world with a nourishing element to help it flourish.

Focus switched from intruding into daily affairs, to the notion of Keynesianism, the concept that an individual state could regulate control of the economy without directly muting and curtailing control exercised by economic institutions (Sullivan, 2003). As New Deal Liberalism became reassembled into a more evolved format, it experienced a substantial period of change. The Roosevelt New Deal Liberalism was a disoriented stew of desperate ideas and attempts to repair the economy, as well as an impulsive prescription to the nation’s capitalistic flaws. However, the World War II period was met with significant changes to this concept. As time proceeded forth, Keynesian ideas were implemented, garnering increasing levels of support. It was only until the post war efforts that this formerly makeshift ideology was shaped in to a more decisive, precedent that would serve as a foundational pathway for future, liberal ideals.

Conclusion: The Lingering Effects of New World Liberalism

The administrative goals of Roosevelt were met with innumerable adaptations, which ultimately entered their final stage of maturation in the post-war effort. After the United States was stricken with the Great Depression, the government misdiagnosed the overarching issue that contributed to the nation’s economic incompetencies at the time. It seems that the cultural, societal and intellectual landscape, however, helped reshape and refine the convictions of this ideological model, until it was adapted to a more polished form. Initially, it was a convoluted stew of anti-capitalist ideas designed to penalize the corporatist agencies and elite. However, it eventually became a symbol of economic restructuring and reform, in which social welfare and capitalism worked inter-depedently to yield a more economically sound nation as a whole. And these liberal ideas became ingrained in countless social welfare movements that characterized the 20th century, including those pertaining to civil rights, health care, and social welfare.


Arthur M. Schlesinger. Jr. (1959) The Age of Roosevelt: The Coming of the New Deal, 1933-1935.Houghton Mifflin

Carol Berkin et al. (2011) Making America, Volume 2: A History of the United States: since 1865

David Von Drehle’s Triangle (2004)

Jefferson Cowie and Nick Salvatore, “The Lon Exception: Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History.”International Labor and Working Class History, (2008)

Jerold S. Auerbach, “New Deal, Old Deal, or Raw Deal: Some Thoughts On New Left Historiography.”Journal of Southern History (1969)

Liz Cohen’s Making a New Deal (2008)

Social Democracy and Welfare Capitalism: A Century of Income Security Politics by Alexander Hicks

Sullivan, Arthur; Steven M. Sheridan (2003) Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall

What are your thoughts on New Deal Liberalism, do you think it destabilizes corporate power or helps revive capitalism? Please add your comments below. Thank you.

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