Anti-consumerism 201: Why?

To live within limits, to want one thing, or a very few things, very much and love them dearly, cling to them, survey them from every angle, become one with them–that is what makes the poet, the artist, the human being.
~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Okay, so anti-consumerism is about buying and using less. But why? Why should we spend less money, make less money, and buy less stuff? Why shouldn’t we buy what we want, when we want it, even if it’s a waste of money? Isn’t that our “god-given” right as Americans?

Well, sure it is, but remember you’re wasting your life every time you waste money. Every dollar you spend is a small amount of your life that you spent making it. Most of us, I dare say, hate our jobs. Once you start calculating prices in the form of (x) amount of hours spent instead of dollars, you may find that some things just aren’t worth it anymore. A couple of beers is an hour of my life I’m spending. That may be worth it, if I’m hanging out with friends and enjoying myself, but doing it a couple of times a week isn’t. A pair of pants from the Gap can cost me an entire work day. Spending less means you have to make less which means you can spend your time doing more important things. Sleeping, reading, hanging out, video games, whatever you want to do.

For those of you with a more political bent, the less money you spend, the less you make, the less you pay in taxes, which means the less the government has. Every dollar less you make is less money sent to fund the war. On the flip side, it’s also less money to fund public projects, roads, and other potentially beneficial things.

It’s also less money going into the pockets of large corporations. One person doesn’t mean terribly much, but eventually it’ll start to add up. You can pick and choose the type of businesses you want to “fund.”

And the less you buy, the less is produced, which means less resources are consumed and less waste is produced.

Others might disagree, but for me it’s a win-win-win situation.


One Response to “Anti-consumerism 201: Why?”

  1. Craig Says:

    There are a lot of reasons to cut back on consuming and to try to alter the mindset the goes along with being a consumer. I tend to agree with the items you mentioned, but I think the main idea that, ideally, should be behind the anti-consumption push is simply the concept of sustainability.

    For various reasons there is a serious amount of wastage that goes on in the societies of first world countries these days, much of it because of the consumerist ideology that most (all?) of these affluent countries. And countries that are less well of are working to adopt those same bad practices. Not good. The less affluent countries do tend to waste less at the moment, largely (I think) because they haven’t yet reached the point where they *can* afford to waste resources, but many are heading in the direction championed by America and countries like it.

    When all is said and done, if we can’t control ourselves enough to manage to do things in a sustainable fashion at the societal level then there will eventually come a time when we’re screwed (it isn’t likely to be pretty), and I think the prevailing consumerist pattern that is promoted by so many is one of the primary forces for unsustainable practices in the current age.

    hmm, a bit of a ramble, but there’s my two cents for what it’s worth :)

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