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Consuming Less Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

Consumption and Happiness

The disappearance of world scale wars after 1950s, and developments in technology which resulted in the production of increasingly more materials and commodities have created a capitalist society in which money came to represent power. Such a system has provided many advantages in terms of facilitating growth in the world, developments in technology and integration of the world by enabling the production and consumption of the same material all around the world. Peter Saunders in his Why Capitalism is Good for the Soul, gives a detailed analysis of these benefits of capital society. Tim Jackson, on the other hand, makes a comparison between modes of ...view middle of the document...

Parents may spend all their time at work trying to provide the material needs to their children disregarding their other needs for “subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation.” (Jackson, 24) Therefore, the opportunity to attain real happiness is missed by both the child and parent. Furthermore, leisure time is a time for “self realization.” (Saunders, 5) During their leisure people are able to discover their interests and by following these interests they become able to develop an authentic identity rather than taking up the identity imposed by media or strive to fulfill the false needs that are promoted by advertisements. In this way, people will be able to discover the true self which is different from the models on advertisements and only by discovering this self, having fun with family and friends during leisure can provide happiness and this is only possible by arranging a work life balance which contains a lot of leisure.
Consuming less will also ensure a better environment for people which will contribute to human happiness. In order to meet the growing demand for consumption commodities, environment is constantly being exploited. The world’s resources are constantly being utilized for consumption. Rivers become dirty as a result of toxic wastes, forests are destroyed and if the ongoing situation continues, it is never possible to reach sustainable consumption as the environment will be worn out. Since the human desire for commodities is plonexia in Aristotle’s terms, humans will continue to contaminate and cause destruction for environment in their attempt to fulfill their “insatiable desire for more.” (Jackson, 20) Most proponents of consumption as natural disregard this. They argue that it is natural to try to attract the opposite sex by impressing her according to evolution theory. (Jackson, 27) However, a healthy environment for human beings is also necessary which is what disregarded by supporters of consumption as natural. The need to provide commodities for consumer culture, environment is exploited to such an extent that people will soon have nothing to consume if the consumption continues at its current level. Therefore, it is significant to decrease commodity consumption thereby saving the environment.
Despite clear disadvantages of consuming culture, some people argue that consumption is necessary and natural for human beings and makes them happy. Jackson states that consumption is the rational choices of humans and he states as follows: “in this rational choice model, the consumer is visualized as a rational actor attempting to...

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