Well, the common enemy in North America is the Western consumer. The consumer has driven oil up to $50 a barrel so we have to have these wars. I think it's incumbent upon us to.
Consumerism refers to a socio-economic trend of twentieth century which consists of mass and mindless consumption of goods and services influenced by massive advertising and centralized marketing and distribution. Consumerism is a also used to describe the effects of the market economy on the individual.
Consumer economy leads to mass craze for goods and services, and the devaluing of the worth of a good or service, and instead focusing on its price in the market. In many critical contexts the term is used to describe the tendency of people to identify strongly with products or services they consume, especially those with commercial brand names and obvious status-enhancing appeal, e.g. an expensive automobile or jewelry. A culture that has a high amount of consumerism is referred to as a consumer culture.
Over-consumption is threatening emotional destabilization of the global population. To those who embrace the idea of consumerism, these products are not seen as valuable in themselves, but rather as social signals that allow them to aggrandize themselves through consumption and display of similar products.
Anti-consumerism refers to the sociopolitical movement against consumerism. At the heart of consumerism lie large business corporations who are invading people's privacy, manipulating politics and governments and creating false needs in consumers. Their modus operandi includes invasive advertising (adware, spam, telemarketing, etc.), massive corporate campaigns, contributions in democratic elections, interference in the policies of sovereign nation states, and endless global news stories about corporate corruption.
Concern over the treatment of consumers has led to widespread movement to educate consumers and protect consumers’ rights. Anti-consumerist activism draws some parallels with environmental activism, anti-globalization, and animal-rights activism in its condemnation of modern corporate organizations. In recent years, there have been an increasing number of books and films, which have to some extent popularized an anti-corporate ideology in the public.
Opposition to economic materialism comes primarily from two sources: religion and social activism. Some religions assert that materialism interferes with the connection between the individual and the divine, or that it is inherently an immoral lifestyle. Some notable individuals, such as Francis of Assisi, Ammon Hennacy, and Mohandas Gandhi, have claimed that spiritual inspiration led them to a simple lifestyle. Social activists have asserted that materialism is connected to war, crime, and general social malaise. Fundamentally, their concern is that materialism is unable to offer a proper raison d'être for human existence.
Many anti-corporate activists believe that the rise of large business corporations is posing a threat to the legitimate authority of nation states and the public sphere. Malpractices by corporations is a norm rather than an exception. Corporations' responsibility is to answer only to shareholders, giving human rights and other issues almost no consideration. Multinational corporations will usually pursue strategies that intensify labor and attempt to reduce costs. For example, they will (either directly, or through subcontractors) attempt to find low wage economies with laws which are conveniently lenient on human rights, the natural environment, trade union organization and so on.
Consumer economies are governed not by production but by consumption, and that the advertising techniques used to create consumer behavior amount to the destruction of psychic and collective individuation, an addictive cycle of consumption, leading to hyper-consumption, the exhaustion of desire, and the en masse prevalence of discontent and dissatisfaction.
The term and concept of conspicuous consumption originated at the turn of the 20th century in the writing of economist Thorstein Veblen. The term describes an apparently irrational and confounding form of economic behaviour. Veblen's scathing proposal is that this unnecessary consumption is a form of status display.
Overcoming Consumerism is a growing philosophy. It is a term that embodies the active resistance to consumerism. It is being used by many universities as a term for course material and as an introduction to the study of marketing from a non-traditional approach.
Consumerism impacts far beyond the immediate consumer group. There is obvious link between the relentless consumerism advocated by both governments and advertisers, and the continued degradation and destruction of the natural environment and fuel shortages.