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Consuming Consumerism

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Consumerism is, unfortunately, a strong force in today’s world, especially in the United States. Advertising, television programs, and movies seem to be saying that if we, the consumers, don’t buy enough or if we don’t buy the right things, we are lesser than those who do. Holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, which were celebrations of hope and goodwill, have been turned into moneymaking schemes wrapped in pretty paper. Even the inauguration of our most recent president was put on the shelves. We jumped at the chance to buy plates, commemorative coins, cardboard cutouts, and even masks with our 44th president’s likeness on them. Consumerism is a major issue in society today and if it is not resolved, eventually, it will itself consume all of us.

The question is, of course, how can we fix it? As products of this consumerist world, people like having the latest and greatest things. Perhaps even more than that, people like gloating. Imagine how the less fortunate feel when they see or hear these things on television or radio or from those they call friends. They must be devastated because they are being told that, since they cannot buy the nicest things available for themselves and their families, they are far inferior to the people who can. We learn this as early as elementary school with television and even within the school itself with programs like “Secret Santa”. Perhaps in adult life, when we are able to think critically, these programs are fine, but not in childhood, when our minds are as pliable as clay. Students should be taught tolerance and open-mindedness instead of judging people based on where they buy their clothes. The best way to fix this problem would be to regulate the way that corporations advertise. Also, one must regulate the television programs and movies that seem to tell the public that if they don’t consume, they are failures and disappointments.

Perhaps, the very best solution would be a transition from our current and, I must add, failing economic system of capitalism to an economic system where there are no major rich/poor divides. Communism seems to match that description. However, over the years, as a result of capitalist propaganda, the word “communism” has become a dirty word to Americans. However, I think that a slow, smooth transition into communism would be the best way to solve the crisis of consumerism. If we can start to open our minds and close our wallets, I believe that we can fix the problem of consumerism. If the United States truly believes in equality, then eliminating the thick lines that divide our social hierarchy would be the logical first step.





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