Consumerism in India and it’s Effects

Consumer in India had started its journey with a need to raise his voice against the quality of goods as back as in 1969 through housewives at Mumbai .It took a shape of revolution at later stage and one day our parliament passed an act for the welfare of consumers in 1986 .This Consumer Protection Act 1986 had further undergone many challenges,criticism and even question on its legal validity was also put before the honorable Supreme Court of India After hearing all sort of accusation and constraints from the big business houses , our apex court held this welfare act very much valid , legal and within the framework of our constitution .

Since 1986 and after three important amendments to the act ,scenario in the market has drastically changed and consumerism in India is diverted to more of lust than limited to needs .We are now easily confusing the things with what we need and  what  we want Its true ,if we work hard ,we deserve nice things .But stuffing plenty of nice things which we really do not need deprive the other consumers from the things they require  for their survival .Keeping four cars for four persons in the family is ultimately going to affect others and also more consumption of nation’s resources like petrol etc.Our sense of entitlement can muddy the waters when it comes to what you want and what you really need. The sizes of our houses are expanding as per our income and resources irrespective of the fact what we had in olden days . People were having more kids but still  living in houses far smaller than we’re willing to settle for today  Now we want a room for every child, plus a living room, family room, media room, and kids’ playroom. And if we have to share a television, we are very uncomfortable with the idea ..

This sense of entitlement is building commercial pressure on our children.Rates of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses have risen in the past two decades in the children .A report submitted to the inquiry by the National Consumer Council found that children in deprived areas were more obsessed with money and shopping than youngsters from better-off homes. Poorer children  wanted a job with a high salary compared with children from affluent areas and they were  the main victims of con-sumerism, as per the report  conducted by the charity “The Children’s Society”

Our consumption patterns are so much a part of our lives that to change them would require a massive cultural overhaul,  In consumer society of the day now, people replace their goods with newer ones, use them and throw them away.  The question of repair does not arise People have money to purchase goods in plenty. In case, they do not do so , it leads to recession massive unemployment.  The success of a consumer society  is measured with the rate of   production , purchase and consumption .The society is considered to be progressing if all above elements are present there . The single most important measure of economic growth is the gross national product (GNP), the sum total of goods

But at the same time as per— Richard Robbins,

“  the production, processing, and consumption, of commodities requires the extraction and use of natural resources (wood,  fuels, and water); it requires the creation of factories and factory complexes whose operation creates toxic byproducts, while the use of commodities themselves (e.g. automobiles) creates pollutants and waste. Yet of the three factors environmentalists often point to as responsible for environmental pollution — population, technology, and consumption — consumption seems to get the least attention. One reason, no doubt, is that it may be the most difficult to change;”

What are the effects of the consumerism?
Consumerism is appreciated in Western economies since a person’s standard of living is valued by his or her material possessions. There are certain positive effects such as:

Positive Consumerism Effects:
Primary positive consumerism effects are:

  • More industrial production.
  • A higher growth rate economy.
  • More goods and services available.
  • More advertising since goods manufactured have to be sold.
  • Increased production will result in more employment opportunities.
  • A variety ofchoice for  goods and services
  • More comforts for a better living style.

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Negative Consumerism Effects:
Top negative consumerism effects are:

  1. The main cause of the current environmental crisis is human nature More specifically, all we’re doing is what all other creatures have ever done to survive, expanding into whatever territory is available and using up whatever resources are available and one day it may result into a death in their own waste.

TheUniversityofColoradoatBoulderlikened the expansion of human cities to the growth and spread of cancer, predicting “death” of the Earth in about 2025. Since  the human population has quadrupled in the past 100 years  and at this rate will reach a size in 2025 that leads to global collapse .

  1. .One is in a rat race to earn more and is forced to cope up with stress and other work related tensions.
  2. Material wealth is the deciding factor about whether a society is highly developed or not. Our ethical and spiritual values are left unimportant under the circumstances .
  3. Over-dependence on labor saving devices.
  4. A car for each individual would mean gradual erosion of public transport.
  5. Crime rate also increases as wants to possess expensive gadgets increase. Thefts become common and daylight robberies take place.
  6. Personal relationships also get affected as people are busy trying to earn more to maintain their standard of living.
  7. Cheaper goods are Today’s consumption which also affect  environmental resource
  8. Consumerism has also resulted in ecological imbalances. The natural habitat is being destroyed to create more goods and build more buildings affecting the weather. Global warming will eventually result in health problems. Industrial pollution is affecting people rather than focusing on simplicity.

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Dr Prem Lata

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