Tag Archives: money

Consumerism – Overconsumption Poisons Individuality and Growth

Happy Holidays to everyone and their loved ones! I hope everyone will be able to spend time with their loved ones and rejoice for the new coming year.

This post comes at an awkward time especially as I try to shop for some last minute gift giving. Black Friday shopping is definitely the embodiment of frenzied consumerism and really should have been the time for this post.

I dedicate this post to my cousin Eric. I want to say first of the bat that this post is not meant to be a rant about buying things we like or having fun, more so about consumerism that is fueled by materialism. Buying things that don’t make us as an individual happy, but more so to fulfill the command of hype setters. Why should there be hype from any one individual, celebrity known simply for their lifestyle rather than the substantive value they produce towards society. How hollow and superficial a society that is.

I’ve been meaning for a while to write about wasteful, needless consumption. Consumerism promotes overconsumption, and has very effectively manipulated the desires of people to surrender their money for materialistic products. It is quite unsettling to see essentially the mass transfer of wealth on the command of ads and popular culture from the poor to the rich. The poor gets poorer by their own doing, foolishly falling pray to the rich who dictates what shoe should be sought after, even to murder for, literally. Think about it. During Black Friday, which exemplifies consumerism, many people would forgo time with their family on holidays and would fight each other for the right to throw their money at companies. If I were the companies I wouldn’t mind if you do. Thanks. Now get back to work on Monday to make more money to spend. It’s almost a cyclical trap. Work more to buy more useless things. A stagnant cycle.

Money is an arbitrary currency for exchanging labor. Money is essentially labor. You work to give your labor to a company who pays you and takes your labor to produce a service or product that will net them more money. Money when used to purchase other products or services becomes a source of power/influence. Finite time however is the limiting factor for produceable labor. Instead of investing in yourself for growth, money when used to purchase items not needed is like throwing your labor away. Similar to a baker baking more bread than he needs, but not intended for sale. Why is it that we must waste our labor just to give what we earn back to the company we work for. We’ve become a slave to companies, working and buying. We must break out of this mentality trapped in part by popular culture. There is no growth. Growth I would define is the net surplus of labor, money, or influence. By building your own product and selling, surplus is gained. When surplus is gained we are no longer moving in that cyclical trap. Even easier, by simply realizing that you should protect your money and not freely give it away. You’ve already won, beating enslavement with realization. Consumerism fueled by materialism is what keeps the poor, poor. Misguided management of wealth leads to working just to make another person richer. Transferring wealth from one company to another company. I wouldn’t work for a company for the money, rather for the benefit of learning and growing with the company’s mission.

The two most important thing consumerism endangers most is individuality and growth. No longer do we take pride in our own style or control over our own desires. We buy what were told we should by by popular culture such as who and who wore what. Celebrity endorsed products are marked up many times its retail price, and thats retail, not production cost! We lose our style in what we desire, and cater to what society desires, what popular culture desires. Who are we if not for our individuality. We’re told to buy, to transfer our money and we do so so willingly. We wait in lines for hours, walk for many more, gridlocked in traffic for the goods we want. Paid whatever amount disregarding utility value, paying instead for popularity value. The worst is when openly acknowledging the wastefulness of labor for what people will like you for, your shoes.

This self harm, destruction of self individuality as a consequence destroys growth. You’re now stuck in the cyclical enslavement as described above. You don’t take pleasure in self reliance, we’ll just buy it. I’m not saying buying things isn’t a good idea. In fact when we’re trading our finite time for economies of scale for experts to produce services or product of higher quality and less time. Face it, the clock never stops running and we can’t make everything ourselves as much as we want to. So it’s good to have division of labor and specialist. This is not a production and consumption was never the target of this post. What I’m stressing is overconsumption and materialism that is promoted by consumerism is what damages our individuality, allowing others to manipulate us into essentially throwing away our money in an imbalance trade. We don’t need these items but are made to obsess over. This idea I wanted to say doesn’t apply to the rich if they had the capacity to spend alot because they earn alot, but I take it back. This concept applies to everyone and the only reason the rich are rich is because they’ve controlled the consumption all the while taking advantage of the poor who are more likely to transfer their wealth that is harder earned. You can definitely earn alot yet consume more than your income. The only key difference is the poor’s margin of discretionary income is much less than that of the rich. But anyone can grow their net worth by decreasing their consumption of needless things or increasing their income, or both ideally as this is a mentality issue.

Self reliance is our exciting ability to influence and control of our destiny. By rejecting buying what we don’t need and rejecting a materialistic mindset, we poise ourselves for upward growth, leaving the cyclical cycle of wealth transfers. We can finally start accumulating wealth and in turn control our destiny through influence and not be influenced by other, becoming free.

I would love for your perspective. Share your thoughts here or on twitter.com/andrewtvuong or facebook.com/andrewtvuong