Our contemporary society has been exposed to electronic media for decades and before that was print media, with each year bringing even more ways to funnel information to us. Barring living in the woods without access or any electronic devices at all, you really cannot escape it. Media has a great influence on our world. The technological revolution has increased information as it is now sent to us not only through print, but also via television, computers, and telephones. We cannot even imagine where it may go as wireless connections are popping up across city and country, making information available almost anywhere.
Consumerism is basically the theory that greater consumption is economically good for everyone. As a side affect of the widespread media boom of television and the Internet it is greater than ever before. There is an emphasis on consumption and although it appears that people have many choices, they actually tend to lean towards what is put before them. In other words, they see it, they like it, and they want it. It has been proven that if a television commercial can show a person enough positives of a product in 30-seconds, they will most likely choose that item over the one sitting next to it on the shelf. Consumerism leans on a ‘You deserve it’ or ‘Life will be happier if you have …’, whatever it may be.
The idea is that choice is key. Consumers decide what societies economic structure will look like. If the public clamored for all natural foods, the stores would be filled mostly with whole grains and vegetables, by overwhelmingly choosing junk foods over fresh, it would change the way a grocery store was laid out, both scenarios causing the stores to carry more of the most popular products. Media influence comes from these same stores as they run weekly commercials on television or through newspaper ads. Their sale prices and photos of the products influence where and what the consumer will purchase.
These trends are usually influenced by what is seen or heard through the media. For instance, a mother goes shopping at the grocery store, but does not bring a list of needs, what will she choose if money is not a factor? Most likely, she will purchase items she has seen on a television commercial and/or seen on the Internet. There a product can be described in such a way as to sound best for the consumer. That, often enough is enough to beat out the competition, even if the claims made about the item were not really factual. The war is continually battled to keep such products and/or claims from ever getting to the people, but advertisers know they can influence people with nothing more than a picture of their item.
While there are different political ideas on how to approach the issues associated with consumerism, all agree that changes need to be made. Creating cleaner products/companies and trying to figure out how to deal with the needs of society and their income, while seemingly simple, are ever-debated issues. It is a political hot bed that few enjoy getting into and in the long run may have little affect on what one buys unless society prioritizes it. Many governments realize this and do their best to influence the people with their own media ads and articles.
The public is inundated daily and is preoccupied with the dream of what would, should, or could be. People view new homes, new products, new vehicles and new ideas every day, but it’s what is done with that information that counts. Ideals and values are deceivingly being attacked by the consumerism of today. The public longs to have, but instead of quality often attain only imitations, while big business realizes it need not put real quality into its product anymore. The race is on to influence the people to be mindful-consumers. In the long run, the publics search for instant gratification only hurts them, but just as quickly, the same peoples could turn it all around. A demand for quality in all that is consumed is what it would take.
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