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Consuming Environment

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451541-bigthumbnail“Our consumption of goods obviously is a function of our culture. Only by producing and selling things and services does capitalism in its present form work, and the more that is produced the more that is purchased the more we have progress and prosperity. The single most important measure of economic growth is, after all, the gross national product (GNP), the sum total of goods and services produced by a given society in a given year. It is a measure of the success of a consumer society, obviously, to consume.”

                                                                     ( – Richard Robbins, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, Allyn and Bacon, 1999, p.209)

What Robbins skillfully point out in this paragraph is that mass-consumption has become an essential part of our culture. And what we need to realise is how much our new “culture” of consumption affects the natural environment. Because when we order our next item on Amazon and anxiously await for our so much need purchase to arrive in the next hour or so, what we don’t actually acknowledge is that уwhat lies at the back of all the pretty websites that invite us in and encourage us to buy with their inspiring slogans like “Shopping is inspiration” is an enormous industry that abuses the natural environment on which all our lives rely. The expansion of consumer services aims to spoil consumers with an even greater variety of goods and even quicker deliveries to our homes. However, what this expansion also entails is more logistics, more transport, more energy, and more trees to be cut off for new routes to be built.

But it’s not only the environment we need to worry about, but also the degradation of our morals that allows us to believe it’s ok for us not to step a foot outside our homes while ordering online thing we never really needed before seeing the ad. Don’t get me wrong – progress is always good, and as I’ve mentioned in my previous post, only capitalist societies, in which the consumer culture has become dominant, can secure our freedom and prosperity. However, being a part of this culture of mass-consumption is ok only as long as we don’t lose grip on the consequences.

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