To cure affluenza, we have to be satisfied with the stuff we already own
If parties maintained and amended their wealths, the world economy and potential impacts of human activity on the environment would be transformed
Affluenza has not just changed “the worlds”, it has also changed the behavior we read “the worlds”. Short of coin? Borrow some. Caught in the flood? Buy an umbrella. Thirsty? Buy a bottle of sea and throw the bottle away.
Our embrace of “convenience” and our credence of our is no way to plan ahead is an entirely new way of thinking, and over the past seventy years we have constructed a new and different economic system to accommodate it.
There is nothing inescapable about this current way of thinking, depleting and causing. On the contrary, the vast majority of humans who have ever lived( and the majority of members of human rights alive today) would find the idea of using our scarce resources to produce things that are designed to be thrown away perfectly mad.
But the fact that our buyer culture is a recent invention does not mean to say it will be easy to change. Definitely, the last few decades have shown how contagious affluenza can be. But we have not ever lived this course, which attests that we don’t have to persist with it. We can change- if we want to.
I define consumerismas the ardour of buying situations. For some, that entails the excite of hunting for a agreement. For others, it is the quest for the new or the unique. And for others still it is that moment when the shop assistant entrusts them their new buy, beautifully wrap, with a arc, just as though it’s a present.
But the charity of buying things can, by definition, require exclusively a transient feel of pleasure. The fondnes is also possible prolonged by the” exhilarate of the chase”, and may include an afterglow that includes moving down wall street with a brand-new acquire in a branded carry luggage. It is likely to be extend to the moment when you get to show your acquire to your friends and family.
But the benefits of consumerism are naturally short-lived as they are linked to the process of the acquire , not the use of the product. So while consumerismis the love of buying situations, materialismis the adoration of the things themselves- and that’s an important discrimination.
Salespeople and psychologists are well aware of this phenomenon. The expression buyer’s remorse refers to the come-down that follows the excite of buying something new. For countless, the freezing hard light of day takes the gloss off their new gadget, their new shoes or their new car. For some, this can be so overtaking that they revert the item. For a minority, the excite of buying new situations is so great, and the disappointment of owning brand-new events so strong, that they make a practice of buying concepts they know they will return.
For those concerned with the impact of uptake on the natural environment, it is crucial to make a clear distinction between the kindnes of buying events and the beloved of owning concepts. While consumerism and materialismare often used interchangeably, taken literally they find themselves polar opposites. If you really loved your car, the thought of replacing it with a new one would be pain. Similarly, if you really loved your kitchen, your shoes, your belt or your lounge, then your materialismwould prevent you hastening out and buying a new one.
But we have been training to love the exhilarate of buying new material. We adoration things not for their fabric gathering, but for the figurative number of acquiring and possessing them- the stimulate of foreseeing a brand-new situation, of being entrust it by a smiling shop assistant, of gathering up at the golf club in an expensive new auto. For countless, if not most, consumers, it is the symbolism of a brand-new handbag or new gondola, its expensive badge proudly exposed, that hands happiness, rather than twenty years of using a material object.
It establishes no feel to conflate materialism and consumerism. Certainly, our readiness to dispose of perfectly functional material goods and contraptions is the terribly antithesis of a kindnes of things. The process of buying brand-new stuffs and exposing new representations might provide status or other mental benefits, but the pursuit of such symbolic purposes is mainly unrelated to the material characteristics of the products being purchased and disposed of.
Symbols matter, and mental helps question. The information that people are willing to deplete their own meter and money to demonstrate they fit in or to make sure they stand out should be of limited or no headache to others.
But for those who are concerned with the impact of 7. 5 billion humans’ consumption decisions on the natural environment, the choice of such representations stuffs staggeringly. Whether people choose to signal their resource by spending money on gargantuan gondolas or antique decorates is arbitrary, but that does not mean to say the environmental results aren’t highly significant.
Put plainly, if we want to reduce the impact on the natural environment of all of the stuff we buy, then we have to hang on to our material for a good deal longer. We have to maintain it, repair it when it fragments, and find a new residence for it when we don’t need it any longer. If we want to dry affluenza, we have to get more gratification from the things we already own, more happiness from services, more atonement from leisure time, and less gratification from the process of buying brand-new things.