IDEOLOGY. The modern world’s materialistic outlook is one of the biggest problems to combat today. Marcus Hansson explains why, from two different points of view, in two separate articles. This second article concerns how materialism via consumption must be prevented in order to halt the destruction of our planet.
The materialist consumer society depletes the planet
Because mankind became so good at producing material things, a paradigm shift occurred concerning the reason why we produced goods. In the past, it took much more time to manufacture an item, and therefore items were generally manufactured when they were required, but in the age of mass production, this approach changed. Factories could overproduce goods and thus saturate the market. This created an economic model in which capitalism mass-produces items, leading to over-consumption, with the population existing in a permanent state of debt as a result. In principle, every country today has a massive national debt, but to whom do we owe this money?
The above “problem” needed to be solved, so one of the measures taken was to start getting people to buy things they didn’t really need – via advertising. How many household appliances, for example, have been purchased only never to be used?
The other way was to lower the quality of goods, making them cheaper but also making them break faster. This way, objects don’t last for life, but rather people are forced to buy the same item again after just a few years.
Regarding this first point, the fashion industry is an excellent example of how to create a demand for clothes that women do not actually have a need for. This behaviour has existed for centuries, but it was really only the rich who could practise it before. In today’s modern society, however, workers can also act this way. The fashion industry allows women, and increasingly men, to compete as to who can be the most fashionable and therefore elevate their status in today’s society and acquire better partners. Women should not compete over who has the most fashionable clothes; they should compete over how good they can be as mothers, how well they take care of the household, and what knowledge they have that can benefit the family and society as a whole.
The Arbetarbladet newspaper writes:
According to the survey, women make the decisions on 80% of all consumer purchases, which includes 94% of all home furnishings and 55% of all home electronics purchases. They also make 89% of all financial decisions and decide 92% of all holiday trips.
Women account for 75 percent of all clothing purchases in Sweden. Sixty percent of food and 70 percent of home furnishings are bought by women. […] Ikea caters to a broad target group, but 70 percent of its customers are women.
Women therefore tend to be the main participants (sinners) in today’s consumer society. You only need take a look at a rubbish tip to get a better picture of the amount of resources women throw away via their repeated new purchases. Here, for nature’s sake, men must put their foot down hard on this behaviour, so that the earth will not be depleted. There will be a lot of shouting, whining and crying if men do this, because they are fighting against female biology, but it must be done. When consumption has decreased among women, it will be important to put a stop to some men who will try to pamper the more capricious sex with gifts, or all sorts of expensive and unnecessary items, in order to gain an advantage over other men. Such behaviour will create an “arms race” among men that will lead us back to today’s society. Therefore, it is important that such individuals be chastised by the other men.
Men are not without blame. Men compete against other men when it comes to buying luxury items to attract women. This could be a house, car, boat, etc. This behaviour exists in all men – the only difference is that some have more in their wallets. The worst are the rich, who can buy something for millions or billions of kronor that will only be used when they find some occasional need for it. Then there are the gadget geeks. These men usually take very good care of their things and attach great importance to buying something that lasts; but like the rich people’s possessions, these items often accumulate dust on a shelf.
All this consumption through competition means that people get caught in the wage slave trap. In order to buy more, often unnecessary, things, it is necessary to work. Today, both parents usually work, while the state is responsible for the majority of the upbringing of their children. People find it difficult to remove themselves from their material possessions, which is no surprise considering they know how much work is required to buy them. I believe that today’s parents must reprioritise their life choices and reduce their working hours in order to look after their own children. The purpose of society should not be the ability to buy more material things, but how much more time you get with family, friends and for your own self-realisation.
How should we work for the future?
My suggestions are just ideas designed to get people thinking. What can you do to reduce your own imprint on nature and that of your family? One thing would be to collaborate more with one another, even though it can be a bit problematic for people with different viewpoints to get along. Often, some may feel they want to opt out of this collaboration.
Today, many families have tools that are not used, even though they could often make use of them effectively. One or more neighbourhood associations could invest in purchasing tools and machines communally. This way, the tools are used more often, and not everyone has to own one of each. A rental schedule could function smoothly with the aid of modern technology.
Even though Facebook sales groups and sites like Tradera and Blocket are not run by good companies, they offer a service that is good in principle; namely, that old things that are no longer needed are posted online and resold instead of being thrown away. This behaviour is something that should be increased to an even greater extent.
Politically, companies can be forced to establish themselves in villages to reduce commuting between different cities. They can also be compelled to produce articles that last longer. Exceptions could naturally be made for technology that quickly becomes obsolete.
Technology that does not quickly become obsolete can be produced with the intention that the individual will be able to troubleshoot and repair it instead of throwing it away. If the individual cannot accomplish this, a centre must be established where the object can be returned.
Part one of this article series can be found here: Material wealth enslaves you