Consumerism is Making Us Sick, But That’s Just What Capitalism Wants

  • Lois Fergie


Consumer culture emerged in Western capitalist societies in the late 20th century and the centrality of production was replaced with consumption. The rise of consumerism is praised for breaking down social divisions, allowing class distinctions to blur and thus accommodating increased social mobility. The mass production of goods and their increased accessibility to individuals allows the reconstructions of social identities presenting greater choice for individuals (Featherstone, 1990). This is supported by the work of Douglas and Isherwood; the consumption of particular goods is advantageous in helping people create new social relations whereby these products are of common interests. In addition, consumption is also claimed to be beneficial for giving people a sense of satisfaction and excitement in their lives (Featherstone, 1990).