Consumerist culture is an aspect of culture which is shaped by consumerism and consumption habits. It can be broadly defined in terms of social status, values, habits, activities that are centered on the conspicuous consumption of goods and services. Zygmunt Bauman, a Polish sociologist in his “Consuming Life” explains that consumerist culture values transience over the duration, reinvention and the ability to acquire things quickly. The impact of globalization strengthened communication networks and services across the world resulting in vast flow of goods, consumer habits from the West to the industrializing countries of Asia and Africa.
How globalization paves the way to consumerist culture?
Globalization has brought significant changes in the societies and culture across the world by providing access to resources and markets globally. When globalization continues to be the dominant hegemony, increased demands of the consumers for exotic things serve as its base of growth. It has created opportunities for consumption alternatives at reasonable prices meeting expectations of humankind and transformed the world into a global village. Today, consumers can conduct research on products multiple times to get the best deal. Brand consciousness and demands of comfortable shopping led to the preference of shopping malls over small marts in third world countries. As a result of globalization, the products (clothing, electronic devices, accessories, cosmetics, appliances, etc.) consumed by the customers today come from everywhere in the world today.
Emergence of Mass Production
Mass consumption is always followed by mass production which requires high productivity and specialization on national levels. Mass production in today’s world no longer means producing the same product of same color and size but products of similar functions with varieties. Such a system makes each country dependent on one another for the exchange of goods and developing trade relations across borders. This interdependence raises the standards of living in a country giving way to enhanced demands of consumption. There are a variety of resources and products consumed by the world at present as basic needs but there are certain products which are consumed by people beyond basic needs to include luxury items and technological innovations.
The Pros and Cons of Globalized Culture
Globalization is accelerating integration of nations by forming cultural ties through cultural assimilation and developing modern means of transport and economic relations. It contributes to the exchange of cultural values and expansion of contacts in the modern world to bridge the gap between countries through extensive knowledge. Today, the rise of shopping malls, growth of cafes, net-banking, online food ordering, shopping, etc are all fascinating developments offered by globalization of markets. However, such a degree of interdependence is also contributing dangerously towards loss of ethnicity and cultural identity. It promotes homogeneity of shared values and beliefs so there’s high chance of loss of individualism and group identity. The way consumption desires and economic activities are increasing it is positing serious threats to the sustainable resources of the world. The resources of the earth are currently being overused to meet the demands of the society. So, there is an urgent need to pay attention to the lifespan of products and adopt recycling habit to save the resources for future generations.