Do you think consumerism is a good or bad thing? Given your

Do you think consumerism is a good or bad thing? Given your response, how do you
respond to the "buy nothing day"? Do you agree with it?
"In the consumer society, "I am what I have" is the operative definition of self. In today's society,
consumerism is often portrayed to be a negative aspect of people's lives and purchasing behaviors,
which inevitably leads to materialism. However, if looked at in a positive light,
consumerism has certain positive characteristics.
Consumerism has emerged as part of a historical process that has created mass markets,
industrialization and cultural attitudes that ensure that rising incomes are used to purchase an evergrowing output. Consumerism rests on the assumption that human desires are infinitely expandable. As
a matter of fact, there are an infinite number of ways to be dissatisfied but there are also boundless
opportunities to create new products to meet those desires. Every day, companies compete by
inventing a new product to satisfy consumers' needs. Some of these things are very useful and make
some people wonder how they would live without them. However, many of these products do not
have much impact on society and fade out throughout the years.
Although it has been said that money is the root of all evil, many people actually believe that
they would be happier if they were wealthier. People often want more than they have now, more
money, a better car, a bigger house, more shoes and clothes. Nowadays, big companies and
corporations try to make people buy their products by using more and more advertising techniques.
Therefore consumers will never be satisfied: every day there are new ads for new cars, clothes and
electronics. TV commercials, posters on the walls, newspaper ads and a variety of different flyers are
just some examples of the massive propaganda used by businesses. Not only have advertisers learnt to
identify specific products that appeal to men and women, but they have also found that the "want" of
the consumer can be turned into a "need" for the advertised product. Many of the beauty product
companies advertise their products as a "need" which ultimately appeals to a vast majority of women.
Besides, there are many ways that consumerism can affect the environment. Consumerism can
indeed cause air and water pollution, land contamination, and forest degradation. What’s more
consumption itself, plus the production and waste of products used in consumption is related to
pollution. Tobacco production, for example, can lead to soil degradation and land contamination.
Industrial waste (especially when just dumped into the rivers and oceans), waste from the tourist
industry (including cruise liners and air travel), waste from industrial agriculture, and automobile
emissions are examples of air and water pollutions caused by consumerism.
Worried about the negatives effects on environment by consumerism, Ted Dave, a Canadian
artist, founded the "Buy Nothing Day" which is an informal day of protest against consumerism. The
"Buy Nothing Day" is a good way to show people how addicted to shopping they are, and it is a good
way to make people think how consumption is destroying the planet. I personally do not think that the
"Buy Nothing Day" could affect the country's economy, because this protest lasts only 24 hours and
what people do not buy that day will be bought at a later date.
Consumerism can actually have some positive effects on society. The economy depends on
people buying things. If people only bought the absolute necessities, most of the country would be
unemployed and unable to make enough money to buy those absolute necessities. The growth of
demand for consumer goods encourages investors to put their money into expanded production so
consumption growth also stimulates economic growth.
Consumerism increases consumption, more consumption requires more production, more
production means more jobs and more income in society, and more income means more consumption.
This is the cycle which, if managed properly, can bring growth and prosperity to society. As
consumerism is essential to our economy, authorities should imply rules and laws to make sure that
consumerism does not destroy our planet.