Consumed
Consumed
By Tim Licence / filmsforaction.org
Aug 3, 2013

The word consumerism has two meanings; the protection of consumer interests but more commonly the doctrine of people’s consumption of goods and services. However after being influenced by a variety of sources, even though we often try and not to be overly influenced by some of them, we constantly conclude that consumption is in our best interests. We constantly consume because we think it will in some way, long or short term, make our lives better. In some cases we even consume things that we know are bad for us! We are of course led to believe that consumption is what is best for us by people who receive personal gain from it which has helped to create a ‘consumer society’. Consumerism is such key element of our world today we rarely think of the alternative, even though there is one which is obvious and simple, production.

There is a lot written about the common negative effects of consumerism such as pollution, bad health, poverty, and poor working conditions. This leads to the very fashionable campaigns to mitigate these negative impacts, which some forms of consumption can have, such as those that promote Fair Trade, free range, organic and recycling etc. Although these sorts of things are often good in some ways they often act as a placebo and, sometimes, whilst being hijacked by profiteers, act to re-enforce consumer society. These concepts may create more ethical consumption but they do not offer an alternative to consumption.

It is often suggested that people consume for many reasons such as a statement of or an attempt to find their identity, to forget our worries, to impress other people, to build relationships with other people and to compete with and emulate the consumption of people with higher social standing than us (The Theory of the Leisure class). Of course a certain level of consumption is necessary to live, though if you think about it, only a very low level of consumption of the most basic things is actually needed throughout a lifetime. Ultimately I think most things, other than for our basic need, we consume in an attempt to improve our lives, to be happy. This is what all the reasons boil down to.

A person thinks something could enhance their happiness so they consume it (this can be the consumption of goods or services). It seems to be a perfectly logical thing to do. Most people want to be happy so it makes sense for them to want the things that they believe will make them happy and there is nothing wrong with that. If you know their is something which you can consume, which has no negative effects on anyone else, and makes you happy then what reason is there to not?

 Many people have enshrined a cycle of consumption within their lives. They go to work, which they often don’t enjoy, in order to earn as much money as they can to consume as much as they can in the pursuit of happiness. Of course this is a very simplistic way of generalising consumer society but there is a truth here which is evident to some extent in many people lives.

‘Western society’ increasingly sees consumption as one of the primary ways to achieve happiness. It would be cynical to think that people generally don’t think that friends, family and achievements are main ways to be happy, but very often consumption is up in the same echelons of priority too. When in the middle of a consumer society it is easy not to realise how much time we spend consuming things that others produce. We have seen the adverts, heard the marketing, understood that someone wants to make money out of us and we still buy their products because we think it is a route to happiness. A large part of our society has become consumed by consumption. It has become over powering in our society, which is so focused upon it.  It is no wonder though, when corporations spends billions of pounds on marketing to make us think that if we buy their products our lives will be improved. In a society where the majority of our economy is based on endless and ever increasing consumption it very often seems to be easier to go with it and consume.

But we are wasted on consumption, it squanders the best bits of humanity like creativity and ambition to discover or achieve. There is nothing you can gain from consumption that you can’t gain from production. Both through production and consumption people can have new experiences, experience different emotions, bond with other people, relax and rejuvenate. Production, in some forms, can open up opportunities for the individual that consumption never can.

Production allows people to be creative but consumption by its very definition, to use something up without anything worthwhile left over, does not allow for creativity. Consumerism only installs the ambition to consume more and have the means to do so. This often leads to an ambition to gain more money generally through peoples work, though sometimes through other less legal means, so people can strive towards the goal of consuming more. Then the task at hand can become secondary to the desire to earn money from it which has obvious negatives. Whereas the ambition that can come with production is to produce more and do it better because the task at hand is a primary concern of the producer. This can lead to much more care and attention being paid to the production process and the producer will get a deeper sense of satisfaction when it’s complete and they use it. Also through production new skills can be learned and developed whilst consumers only learn to consume.

Additionally the cost of consumption is often misunderstood as just being the financial value of something. The amount of time that it took for that person to earn that money and the missed benefits from that come from letting someone else produce it are the true cost of consumption. If it takes two days to make something that would have only taken one day to earn the money to buy then this would still be time well spent because of the benefits from production and avoiding becoming a wages slave.

I have concluded that people should seek happiness through production rather than consumption. It is important to note here that there are sometimes fine lines between production and consumption. For example if you watch a film that someone else has made then this could be consumption but if you take knowledge or ideas from the film and develop your own ideas then this becomes productive.

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 23,653 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 16,825 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
The Most Astounding Fact about the Universe
3 min · 3,185 views today · This is Neil Degrasse Tyson's response when asked to describe the most astounding fact about the universe. Background music is the cinematic orchestra - To build a home.
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 2,487 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
Michael Moore Wants to Help You Find Your Next Anti-Trump Protest
Sarah Ruiz-Grossman · 2,118 views today · The Resistance Calendar lists upcoming rallies across the country.
To Change Everything, Start Everywhere
8 min · 2,020 views today · To Change Everything, Start Everywhere! The case for complete self-determination—a guide for the furious, the curious, and the pure of heart. To Change Everything: An...
Transition From Caterpillar to Butterfly as Analogy for Social Change
4 min · 1,943 views today · An exceprt from Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview in which Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about the fractal nature of reality and compares the current global awakening and the...
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 1,803 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
The Foiled Bomb Plot in Kansas That Didn't Make Trump's Terror List
5 min · 1,754 views today · When a plot by a pro-white militia to bomb a Somali mosque in Kansas was foiled by the FBI last October, the aborted conspiracy received little national coverage - nor did it...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 1,753 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 1,745 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
DAPL Opponents Vow to 'Rise' From Ashes of Oceti Sakowin and Keep Fighting
Lauren McCauley · 1,743 views today · 'They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started,' Dallas Goldtooth declared
The London Anarchist Group Squatting Mansions to Fight Homelessness
6 min · 1,685 views today · London squatting activists ANAL (Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians) are squatting empty multi-million pound buildings and opening them up to the homeless.
From Sanctuary City to Liberated City
Frank Lara · 1,601 views today · In just one week, with several strokes of a pen, Trump unleashed upon the working class in the U.S. an attack not seen in decades. From his attack on the flawed Affordable Care...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 1,139 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,037 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
The Fire Within
Words by Sophie Scholl - Illustrations by Gavin Aung Than · 907 views today · Sophie Scholl (1921-1943) was a German activist who is famous for speaking out against the Nazi regime. Scholl was a member of a protest group called The White Rose, which...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 872 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 715 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Redneck Revolt Presents: A Message to the Patriot Movement
6 min · 493 views today · Over the past few weeks, Redneck Revolt has been communicating with a former member of a III% Patriot Militia based out of Ohio. Peter made contact with our organization after...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Consumed