Anti-consumerism is a sociopolitical ideology that is opposed to consumerism , the continual buying and consuming of material possessions. Anti-consumerism is concerned with the private actions of business corporations in the pursuit of financial and economic goals of the public welfare, especially in matters of environmental protection, social stratification , and ethics in the governing of a society. In politics, anti-consumerism overlaps with environmental activism , anti-globalization , and animal-rights activism; moreover, a conceptual variation of anti-consumerism is post-consumerism, living in a material way that transcends consumerism. [1]

Anti-consumerism arose in response to the problems caused by the long-term mistreatment of human consumers and of the consumed animals, and from the incorporation of consumer education to school curricula ; Examples of anti-consumerism are the book No Logo (2000) by Naomi Klein , and documentary films such as The Corporation (2003), by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott , and Surplus: Terrorized into Being Consumers (2003), by Erik Gandini ; each made anti-corporate activism popular as an ideologically accessible form of civil and political action.

The criticism of economic materialism has a dehumanizing behavior that is destructive of the Earth, as human habitat , comes from religion and social activism . The religious criticism asserts that materialist consumerism interferes with the connection between the individual and God, and is inherently immoral style of life; thus the German historian Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) said that „Life in America is the only way in the world, and lacks depth.“ [2] From the Roman Catholic perspective, Thomas Aquinassaid that „Greed is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as eternal condemns things for the sake of temporal things“; in that vein, Francis of Assisi , Ammon Hennacy , and Mohandas Gandhi said that spiritual inspiration is guided towards simple living .

From the secular perspective, social activism indicates that from consumerist materialism derives crime (which originates from the poverty of economic inequality ), industrial pollution and the consequent environmental degradation , and war as a business. About the societal discontent born of malaise and hedonism , Pope Benedict XVI said that the philosophy of materialism offers no reason to be for human existence; [3] likewise, the writer Georges Duhamelsaid that „American materialism [is] a beacon of mediocrity that threatened to eclipse French civilization“. [2]


Anti-consumerism originated from criticism of consumption, starting with Thorstein Veblen , who, in the book The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899), Indicated That consumerism dates from the cradle of civilization . The term consumerism also denotes economic policies associated with Keynesian economics , and the belief that the free choice of consumers should dictate the economic structure of a society. (cf producerism)

Politics and society

Many anti-corporate activists believe the rise of large-business corporations poses a threat to the legitimate authority of nation states and the public sphere. citation needed ] They feel corporations are invading people’s privacy , manipulating politics and governments, and creating false needs in consumers. They state such as as invasive advertising adware , spam , telemarketing , child-targeted advertising, aggressive guerrilla marketing , massive corporate campaign contributions in political elections, interference in the policies of sovereign nations states ( Ken Saro-Wiwa), and news stories about corporate corruption ( Enron , for example). quote needed ]

Anti-consumerism points out protesters que le hand responsibility of a corporation is to answer only to Shareholders , giving human rights and other issues Almost no consideration. citation needed ] The management has a primary responsibility to their shareholders, since any philanthropic activities may not be deemed to be a breach of trust . This sort of multi-national corporations will pursue strategies to intensify labor and reduce costs. For example, They Will attempt to find low wage economies with laws qui are conveniently lenient on human rights, the natural environment ,trade union organization and so on (see, for example, Nike ).

An important contribution to the criticism of consumerism by Bernard Stiegler , arguing modern capitalism is governed by consumption rather than production, and the advertising techniques used to create consumer behavior to the destruction of psychic and collective individuation . The diversion of libidinal energy towards the consumption of consumer products, argues, results in an addictive cycle of consumption, leading to hyper consumption, the exhaustion of desire, and the reign of symbolic misery.

Conspicuous consumption

Main article: Conspicuous consumption

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.

-  Bertrand Russell [4]

Trying to reduce environmental pollution is a drug addiction.

-  Jorge Majfud [5]

Many in critical contexts, citation needed ] the term Describes the tendency of people to Identify Strongly with products or services consumed They, Especially with shopping brand names Obvious and status-enhancing appeal, Such As a brand of automobile expensive gold jewelry . It is a pejorative term which most people deny, having some more specific excuse or rationalization for consumption other than the idea that they are „compelled to consume“. A culture that has a high amount of consumerism is referred to as a consumer culture .

To those who embrace the idea of ​​consumerism, but rather as social signals that allow them to identify like-minded people through consumption and display of similar products. Few would yet go so far, though, as to admit that their relationships with a product may be substitutable for healthy human relationships that may be lacking in a dysfunctional modern society .

The former term conspicuous consumption describes the United States in the 1960s, but is related to media influence , jamming culture , and its corollary productivism .

The term and concept of conspicuous consumption at the turn of the 20th century in the writing of economist Thorstein Veblen . The term describes an apparently irrational and confounding form of economic behavior. Veblen’s scathing is a form of darkness humorous observations like the following:

It is true that it is more likely than not that the cost of living in a household will be higher than that of the elderly. so it is by no means an uncommon occurrence, in an inclement climate, for people to go ill. [6]

In 1955, economist Victor Lebow stated (as quoted by William Rees , 2009):

Our enormously productive economy demands that we make our way of life, that we buy the goods we eat, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and our satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate.

According to archaeologists, evidence of conspicuous consumption up to several millennia has been found, suggesting that such behavior is inherent to humans. [7]

Consumerism and advertising

Anti-consumerists believe advertising plays a huge role in human life by information and assumptions of the cultural system, deeming what is acceptable and determining social standards. [8]They declare that they create a hyper-real world where commodities appear as the key to securing happiness. Anti-consumerists cite studies that find that they believe their quality of life improves in relation to social values ​​that lie outside the capability of the market place. Therefore, advertising attempts to equate the social with the material by utilizing images and slogans to link commodities with the real sources of human happiness, such as Ads are a detriment to society because they know that they are more likely to be self-actualizing, or the concept of a complete and secure being. „The underlying message is that we will enhance our image and ensure our popularity with others“. [9]And while advertising has promised That product will make the consumer happy, advertising Simultaneously depends upon the consumer being white never truly happy, as consumer Then The No. Would along feel the need to consume needless products.

Consumer Disclaimer, advertisement advertisement disempower and objectivey the consumer. [10] By stressing individual power, choice and desire, advertising falsely implies control with the consumer. Because anti-consumerists believe commodities only supply short-term gratification, they detract from a sustainably happy society. Further, advertisers have resorted to new techniques of capturing attention, such as the increased speed of ads and product placements . [8] In this way, commercials infiltrate the consumerist society and become an inextricable part of culture. Anti-consumerists condemn advertising because it constructs a simulated world that offers fantastical escapismto consumers, rather than reflecting actual reality. They further argue that the ads depict the interests and lifestyles of the elite as natural; cultivating a deep sense of inadequacy among viewers. [10] They make use of beautiful models because they glamorize the commodity beyond the reach of the individual.

In an opinion segment of New Scientist magazine published in August 2009, reporter Andy Coghlan cited William Rees of the University of British Columbia and Warren Hern epidemiologist of the University of Colorado at Boulder , saying that human beings, subconsciously still driven by an impulse for survival, domination and expansion … an impulse which now finds expression in the idea that inexorable economic growth is the answer to everything, and, given time, will rectify the world’s existing inequalities. “ According to figures presented by Rees at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, human society is in a global overshoot, consuming 30% of the world’s resources. At present, 85 countries are exceeding their domestic „bio-capacities“, and compensate for their lack of local materials by depleting the stocks of other countries.

Alternatives to mainstream economic concepts

Throughout the ages, various movements have been made to survive in the capitalist society. Intentional communities providing an example of this, as do monastic orders, barter movements and technology-driving sharing or exchange mechanisms. [11] For instance, an intentional community called the Bruderhof has a system of sharing within the community, and no money is used by the members. [12] The Bruderhof runs a successful manufacturing business that allows it to trade in the capitalistic society, but without indulging in consumerism. [13]

Such anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist notions are not without their detractors. New thought and theory has been changed to alter world economic climate. Green movements and some other thinkers are in focus. The need for terminology has been established as a resource -bearer , and ecological footprint .

David Ricardo , an early economist, had ideas that the finitude of growth, rather than the opposite; his words were similar to those of Mark Twain , when he said „Buy land, they do not make it anymore.“ To Ricardian logic, land was a limiting factor.


Many who? ] have accused anti-consumerists of opposing modernity or utilitarianism . Right-wing critics see anti-consumerism as rooted in socialism. In 1999, the libertarian magazine Reason attacked anti-consumerism, claiming Marxist academics are repackaging themselves as anti-consumers. James B. Twitchell , a professor at the University of Florida and popular writer, referred to anti-consumerism arguments as „Marxism Lite.“ [14]

There have also been socialist criticisms of anti-consumerism which have a form of anti-modern „reactionary socialism“, and that anti-consumerism has been adopted by ultra-conservatives and fascists . [15]

See also

  • Anti-consumerists (category)
  • Adbusters
  • Affluenza
  • Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (2001 book)
  • Almighty dollar
  • Communism
  • Corporate scandal
  • Counter-economics
  • Culture war
  • degrowth
  • misappropriation
  • downshifting
  • EcoLeasing
  • Fab Lab
  • Freeganism
  • Genuine Progress Indicator
  • Gross National Happiness
  • Growth Fetish
  • Keeping up with the Joneses
  • mottainai
  • Multinational Monitor
  • One-Dimensional Man
  • Over-consumption
  • Open design
  • Philosophy of futility
  • Planned obsolescence
  • Prosumerism
  • Repair Cafe
  • Sharing economy
  • Social justice
  • Use Less Stuff
  • vaporwave
  • Waste picker
  • What Would Jesus Buy?
  • Steady-state economy
  • The Zeitgeist Movement


  1. Jump up^
  2. ^ Jump up to:b Stearns, Peter. Consumerism in World History . Routledge
  3. Jump up^ Web log. 17 July 2008.
  4. Jump up^ The Routledge Dictionary of Quotations, by Robert Andrews,Routledge, 1987,ISBN 0-7102-0729-8, pg 212
  5. Jump up^ Majfud, Jorge (August 2009). „The Pandemic of Consumerism“ . A Chronicle . 46 (3-4): 85. Archived from the original on 19 July 2013.
  6. Jump up^ The Theory of the Leisure Class, 1899
  7. Jump up^ Renfrew, Colin ; Bahn, Peter (2008). Archeology: Theories, methods and practice (5th ed.). London: Thames & Hudson . ISBN  978-0-500-28719-4 . OCLC  181139910 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:b [Advertising and the End of the World. Dir. Sut Jhally. Perf. Sut Jhally . DVD. Media Education Foundation, 1997.]
  9. Jump up^ [Tim Kasser, „The High Price of Materialism“, 2002, p.9, Achorn Graphic Services]
  10. ^ Jump up to:b Joseph D. Rumbo, „Consumer Resistance in a World of Advertising Clutter: The Case of Adbusters,“ Psychology and Marketing, Vol.19 (2), February 2002
  11. Jump up^ „Bruderhof – Fellowship for Intentional Community“ . Fellowship for Intentional Community . Retrieved 2017-11-08 .
  12. Jump up^ „5 Beliefs That Set The Bruderhof Apart From Other Christians“ . Newsmax . Retrieved 2017-06-16 .
  13. Jump up^ „ – Our History“ . . Retrieved 2017-06-16 .
  14. Jump up^ Twitchell, James B. (August 2000). „In Praise of Consumerism“ . Reason.
  15. Jump up^ Varul, Matthias Zick (May 2013). „Towards a consumerist criticism of capitalism: A socialist defense of consumer culture“ . Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization . 13 (2): 293-315. ISBN  9781906948177 . ISSN  1473-2866 .


  • Bakan, Joel (2004) The Corporation .
  • Elizabeth Chin (2001) Purchasing Power: Black Kids and American Consumer Culture University of Minnesota Press ISBN  978-0-8166-3511-5
  • Hertz, N (2002) Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy . Arrow.
  • Klein, Naomi (2000). No Logo . Vintage Canada. ISBN  0-676-97282-9 .
  • Luedicke, Marius K., Craig J. Thompson and Markus Giesler. 2010. „‚Consumption as Moral Protagonism:‘ How Myth and Ideology Animate a Brand-Mediated Moral Conflict.“ Journal of Consumer Research. 36 (April).
  • Monbiot, G (2001) Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain . Pan.
  • Schor, J. (2010) Plenitude , Penguin Press HC.
  • Zehner, O (2012) Green Illusions , University of Nebraska Press.