Consumerism.

1. Organised-efforts by individuals, groups, and governments to help protect consumers from policies and practices that infringe consumer rights to fair business practices.

Consumer protection in India is very strong for those who are willing to take the pains to fight for their rights. I know a number of cases where the consumers have won big settlements from large corporations here and I am sure that it must be the same overseas as well.


2. Doctrine that ever-increasing consumption of goods and services forms the basis of a sound economy.

and 3. Continual expansion of one’s wants and needs for goods and services.

This is something that has overtaken us human beings from the time of the Industrial Revolution which was speeded up from after the second world war when it was discovered that women could also come into the non agricultural workforce. Rather than expand on what has happened elsewhere in the world, let me concentrate on India where we got out of the Socialistic Pattern of Society in the 1990s of the last century and got royally involved in the rat race.

The one word mantra is Growth.  Everyone and his uncle obsesses about growth.  If the GDP growth gets below a certain percentage point, all hell breaks loose and the pundits start baying for the blood of the politicians. And such growth can only come from demand for goods and services constantly increasing to facilitate production of goods and services. So, businesses have come up with the brilliant strategy of advertising overt and covert to keep the demand pot simmering and producing goods and services highly subject to obsolescence so that replacement demand also takes place besides demand for new goods and services.

To facilitate that process, financial institutions get on the bandwagon and offer products, read loans, to make borrowing attractive so that people are perpetually in debt often just meeting interest payments without the original borrowed sum ever reducing at all. Another phenomenon that one can watch is that of the debt servicing going up for individuals as their incomes go up too! A self perpetuating cycle that leads to many of the modern ills.

I am glad to report that I do not contribute to the growth of our GDP. I am in the process of simplifying my life to the extent I can by becoming a minimalist. I refuse to be swayed by advertising for goods and services though I am sucker for advertising for movies and books. In the latter case however, I prefer buying a kindle version and buy hard copies only when I cannot get an electronic version. I however doubt that my splurging on these two items will seriously impact our GDP, the current growth of which is 7.3%, among the highest in the world!

I had suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.