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Management, Marketing

The downsides of Consumerist Culture and the counter arguments

The consumerist culture has existed for decades, though it is popular in the United States and other Western Nations. The perception of consumerism has become part of society’s lifestyle, which people can embrace to acquire goods they do not need. According to Firat, Kemal, and Arikan (179), consumerist culture is the belief that the well-being of people and happiness depend on the level of personal consumption.

The notion is built on believing that all consumers understand what they want. It creates the idea that consumers need fashion in the market, and it can be defined as consumer sovereignty (Firat, Kemal and Arikan 181).  However, consumerist culture affects people’s healthy life and can damage a good future. It is useful to the economy since it encourages people to spend. On the same note, it can increase personal debt since it encourages overspending.

Research has established that consumerist culture negatively affects consumers and can lead to overspending, resulting in an accumulation of debt. Therefore, because of debts and overspending, it slows personal growth (Singh 16). Most marketers believe that consumers do not know what they want, and consequently, they must be told or persuaded by an advertisement, which increases the spending rate of most people.  As per one of the most successful entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs, “people usually do not know what they want until they are shown to them.” With this argument consumers are usually in a state of limbo, wanting to buy any goods being advertised.  Therefore, it facilitates overspending by consumers hence, people utilize their incomes buying things they do not need instead of saving their incomes for personal growth and living within their means (Goodwin, Julie and Frank 25).  Eventually, it creates an imbalance in the economy where people work buying goods or properties they do not have any plans for, but simply because they were advertised on the media.

Several studies have also shown that Americans are at the center of consumerism and advertisement, influencing the consumption of several products. According to Rumbo (132), consumerism culture can result in unhealthy eating habits which can cause obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. This makes consumerism culture dangerous to consumers and should be avoided. However, defenders of consumers argue that it informs consumers so that they can make an informed decision regarding products in the market to avoid being exploited. For instance, research has indicated that some fast food can easily cause heart disease as a result of a lot of fats. It is evidence that several fast foods which are usually being advertised on social media can easily cause diabetes and obesity which are health conditions that can be fatal. Therefore, consumerist culture has never been good and can be disastrous and fatal if not addressed properly. It, thus, reduces the quality of human beings and increases the chances of getting some disease related to consuming a lot of fat or sugar.

Most importantly, consumerism culture can increase the crime rate in society. Research has indicated that consumerism creates an urge to possess devices like mobile phones, cars, and other electronics. Since an individual cannot afford it, one can decide to steal due to pressure to have expensive gadgets. This makes consumerism culture a bad thing that should not be encouraged. However, defenders of consumerist culture argue that society is already rotten with or without consumerism culture and therefore, arguing that it increases crime can means that consumerism has been there from the 1860s which is not possible. However, research has proved that consumerism can increase crime and therefore, any argument should be supported with studies which defenders of consumers have failed to avail.

However, some people argue that consumerist culture drives a country’s economy since it encourages people to spend more money. As stated by Rumbo (135) through spending the country could easily get out of recession through a collection of taxes which are used to build a nation. Therefore, consumerist culture is essential for economic growth and should be encouraged. The proponent of consumerist culture regards the perception that it leads to overspending as a tactic people apply to avoid purchasing products and living below their mean. Therefore, consumer culture is a noble concept that can be used to build a country’s economy. For instance, if the purchasing power of a nation is low, the GDP will be stagnant, and the possibility of a country tumbling to recession is high. It is argued that through advertisement and marketing, consumers get to have a lot of urge to purchase specific products which result in consumerism culture and therefore, consumerism is built by marketing and advertisement which result to a better an economic growth of nature.

Consumer culture also encourages people to view purchasing products as a bonding experience, where people can take time off to discuss and get to know each other better.  According to Smart (15), shopping with friend or relatives makes people get together to understand a thing and therefore, consumer culture plays an essential role in the social phenomenon, not just an economic part alone.  For instance, when friends go out for shopping, they listen to each other more often and consult which can help in creating inseparable link and understanding in the society (Smart 30). It is argued that consumerist culture, assist consumers to understand the market and make the right choices on the kind of products to purchase. Furthermore, consumerist culture just informs the consumers of the available choices while the consumer decides whether to purchase a product. Therefore, consumerist culture is a good insight into goods or products that should be promoted in the market. Smart (32) further argues that consumerism indicates the link between marketing practice and the dangers of consumerism, which might be greater than believed to be just marketing academics.

Defenders of advertisement also argue that advertising usually promote vital information to the people regarding products in the market and therefore, it an essential part of consumerism. Karam (24) states that advertisements help customers make the right decision when purchasing a product. It creates an informed society rather than destroy or misleading the consumers as portrayed by other actors. It is argued that without advertising and marketing products would not move and a consumer would not be able to know products or goods available in the market therefore, it helps in avoiding being exploited by one company since a monopoly would not be able to exist in the market for a longer time. For instance, Coca-Cola spends USD twelve billion every financial for a market to create dominance and because of a free society, Pepsi and the rest still get their share in the market. It is the essence of having marketing and advertising in society (Karam 20).

In conclusion, people have raised concerns about consumerism, and several believe that consumerism is linked to the rate of reduced well-being of consumers. Research has shown that consumerism influences consumers to be involved in unhealthy diet such as consumption of a lot of fast food which can affect people’s life leading to several diseases. It is also argued that consumerism culture is bad for the economic growth because it leads to overspending without thinking of saving some income for future growth. However, defenders of consumerist culture argue that it help in strengthening the economy since it urges people to spend hence a lot of money in circulation which can result to increase economic growth. Nevertheless, it is essential to the point that consumerism culture has existed in the western nation and has been part of their culture. Therefore, it is good to practice consumerism with many constraints since its long-term effect can have a more significant impact on society if not appropriately managed. It is, therefore, evidence consumerism culture has a bad effect on society and should be avoided at all costs.

Works Cited

Firat, Aytekin, Et Al. “Consumption, Consumer Culture And Consumer Society.”

Journal Of Community Positive Practices (2013): 178-198.

Goodwin, Neva, Et Al. “Consumption And The Consumer Society.”


The_Consumer_Society.Pdf (2015): 12-46.

Karam, Asaad Ali. “Cultural Impact On Brand: A Case Study On Coca Cola’s Cultural Issues

In India.” Journal Of Science And Business Studies (2016): 12-38.

Rumbo, Joseph D. “Consumer Resistance In A World Of Advertising Clutter The Case

Of Adbusters.” Psychology &Marketing 19.2 (2013): 127-148.

Singh, Prasidh Raj. “Consumer Culture and Postmodernism.” (2011): 10-38.

Smart, Barry. “Consumer Society .” Historical Developments And Theoretical Approaches

 In Sociology (2014): 10-34.



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