Consumerism Essay

analytical Essay
1171 words
1171 words

American has had in the last fifty years decades of unprecedented economic growth which has has all but solved the economic problems of how to secure the necessities of life and most people are living lives of luxury and comfort (Alexander 1). This has caused the consumer industry to skyrocket. Everywhere one looks there are advertisements being thrown at them. These items are not advertised as luxury items, but as something someone needs to survive. The consequences of consumerism is people are saving less money and feel they need to keep earning more money to keep up with the demands of society (Etzioni 1). Students today are being told to go to college because it will give them an opportunity to earn more money at a better job. Has anyone stopped to question if they really need to make more money or could they live a satisfying and happy life without having to work sixty or seventy hours a week? Alexander states in his paper The Voluntary Simplicity Movement “The huge increase in wealth has stopped contributing to people individual” and “social well-being and the process of getting richer is now causing the very problem that they seem to think getting richer will solve” (Alexander 1). It would seem many americans do not enjoy this quick paced lifestyle which keeps them always at the edge of truly having it all. According to a study done in 1989 “Three out of four Americans would like to see our country to reform to a simpler lifestyle with less emphasis on material success” (Etzioni 3). At the same time though from 1980-1990 consumer spending rose by 21.4 percent (Etzioni 4). If both these studies are true then Americans are running into this oxymoron where they are living the consumerism lifestyle but wishing their lives ... ... middle of paper ... ...the connotation of the word poor is extremely different here in the United States when compared to third world countries. I will then say it is possible for many of the poor to still embrace parts of the simplicity lifestyle. In fact some people who embrace voluntary simplicity will choose to work a part time job and thus make less money. If two people are working the same low income job but one left a high income job because they wanted more time where the other was unqualified for a higher job, who is to say they cannot both embrace the voluntary simplicity lifestyle. Even though the person did not have a choice to move up to a higher level job there are many other aspects of the voluntary simplicity lifestyle they still can make choices about. There are three general levels how far people embrace voluntary simplicity. The first are the downshifters….

In this essay, the author

  • Argues that americans are running into this oxymoron where they are living the consumerism lifestyle but wishing their lives could be simpler.
  • Describes voluntary simplicity as a counter-cultural position based on notions of sufficiency, frugality moderation, and simplicity.
  • Analyzes how henry david thoreau created an equation for life — one side of the equation is perceived happiness, enjoyment, or contentment one has, and the other side is time.
  • Analyzes how duane elgin's book, voluntary simplicity, drew on traditions of quaker, puritans, emerson, thoreau, and the transcendental movement.
  • Explains that voluntary simplicity is not just a theoretical philosophy, but it is one almost everyone can apply to their life somehow.
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