We hear a lot about consumerism, from various perspectives and with very different findings. But what is consumerism?
Consumerism is the (excessive) consumption of man-made goods and services and also natural resources such as water, natural food and other natural raw materials. And we, who use goods and services and natural resources are the consumers.
Consumerism has a specific purpose for us, in a personal context. Many things we buy we need for our livelihood, like our food, “basic” clothing, a basic set of furniture and fixtures and items for personal hygiene. We also reward ourselves by buying things. And we are happy when we buy things that are just beautiful or particularly useful.
But consumerism should be useful, fun and not burden our conscience. Each and every one of us needs to find out how they can consume in a manner that will not only satisfy personal needs but can also sustain the environment and as many other fellow citizens as possible. We need a better understanding of different forms and effects of consumerism. And we also need to understand how our consumerism affects our own income.