Consumption and capitalism

28 Aug

In past days, people had already known how to solve their needs for living. Exchanging what they have, getting what their needs. That was so-called “Consumption” at the beginning of development of capitalism.

However, in these days, Consumption is not a simple thing like the past. That is totally different! Buying things not just to satisfy our needs of living, but also fulfill our greedy desires. In order to earn more money and profit, capitalists stir peoples’ desires from various methods, such as using the influence of media.

From now, for the living aspect, consumption is to develop relationships with others and establish peoples’ identity. For the social aspect, consumption is supporting the operation and existence of the whole system, communities and organizations. For the system aspect, it is to encourage the material production. According to Jean Baudrillard(1926-2007), the relationship of consumption and the needs of reality is broken. Consumption is not only to fulfill peoples’ need of living, but also is an idealist practice. People want to use their materials to show off themselves and the worth of living.

In the last period of capitalism, consumption was just a behavior. That meant Consumerism. It pointed out that people will show the special mindset of consumption when they are shopping. In the consumer culture, manufacturers provided different goods to buyers. Also, manufacturers created new worth of goods. If they did not do that, the goods would not be sold easily. Therefore, they needed to create an idea to ensure buyers to purchase their goods.

Bringing desires are good for manufactures. In order to getting more money and profits, they stimulate peoples’ desires of consumption. Consumption is not for satisfying basic needs of living, it is to let people enjoy the process of consumption. At the end, people will discover that they buy many useless goods, or they will feel regret after shopping.

Social resources are inadequate to distribute to everyone. However, Consumerism causes many wastes of recourses. Poor people cannot get what they needs for living. Although it is not the fault of consumers, we need to think twice when shopping. That is because capitalists will take advantage of different occasions to promote their goods. For an example, actually it is no need to share our presents at Christmas. But we always do it. So that’s why we need to think about the meaning behind consumption.


Erick Kwok


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