VC501 – Design Manifesto: Anti-Consumerism

“It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly” – Bertrand Russell

Anti-consumerism refers to the socio-political movement against the equating of personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of material possessions. The term consumerism was first used in 1915. The modern meaning of the word anti-consumerism was first used in 1960 “emphasis on or preoccupation with the acquisition of consumer goods” (Oxford English Dictionary).
Consumerism is a term used to describe the effects of the market economy on the individual. People are becoming more concerned with the effects that consumerism and over consumption is having on society. Anti-consumerist activism ethos coincides with environmental activism, anti-globalization, animal rights activists and anti-capitalist and political movements.

The main goal of anti-consumerism is to help society move away from addictive consumerism. Consumerism has created a utopian dream, fashioned by corporate companies and clever designs and advertising, and you won’t fit into that dream unless you buy product A or product B. Consumers should have free choice, consumerism limits them, because it manipulates the economic structure of society and in doing so dictates to society on what they should or should not be buying or buying.

Many anti-corporate activists believe the rise of large-business corporations poses a threat to the legitimate authority of nation states and public sphere. They feel corporations are invading people’s privacy, manipulating politics and governments, and creating false needs in consumers. Corporate companies are using invasive advertising – adware, spam, telemarketing, child-targeted advertising, guerrilla marketing, massive corporate campaign contributions in political elections and corporate corruption.

The main responsibility of a corporation is to answer to the shareholders, giving human rights and other issues almost no consideration. The management have a primary responsibly to their shareholders, since any philanthropic activities that do not directly serve the business could be deemed to be a breach of trust.

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