marți, 30 noiembrie 2010

Consumption as self-illusory hedonism

On the one hand, people are critical to the production system. The entire global capitalist system is dependent on hyper-consumption and also the exportation of hyperconsumption to the rest of the world.

From my point of view, one could argue that it is more and more consumption that is driving the production system than it is production that is driving consumption.

The best example of that is the fact that the largest corporation in the United States is now Wal-Mart. It’s not General Motors. It’s not any of the giant production companies. It’s a company that is oriented toward consumption, and which is dictating to producers around the world how much to produce, how to produce it, and how much they’re going to pay for it.

So, all of these things come together in terms of this issue of prioritizing consumption.

I guess if there’s one thing that animates all of this, it’s the view that I see increasingly around me that, through consumption, one can create a meaningful and satisfying life, and if there’s anything I’m critical of, it is that idea.

I just find it very difficult to believe that consumption is going to provide people with the kind of life and gratification that they’re interested in, the same sort of life and gratification that, for some, historically, the experience of work used to provide.

What I often think of is Collin Campbell’s contribution to the analysis of consumption. He focuses on the notion of “self-illusory hedonism,” which I think describes most consumers.

That is, for Campbell, and I agree, most consumers are hedonistic. They think that what they are going to consume is a sort of This is it! This is going to be tremendously satisfying. They find, of course, that it’s not, but that does not seem to prevent them from saying, ‘Ok, that didn’t do it, but this will do it!’

So the focus shifts to that next thing, which once achieved proves to be similarly dissatisfying, and then on we go in this cycle of self-illusory hedonism.

I think above anything else, it is this problem, which I see around me all of the time, that’s the overwhelming concern.

George Ritzer, A Consuming Passion: An Interview with George Ritzer

2 comentarii:

individul_x spunea...

Treaba e că acest val de supraconsum a creat şi condiţiile pentru reacţia inversă, de subconsum. Într-o măsură mult mai mică e adevărat, dar probabil foarte intensă. Sunt oameni care au văzut iluzia şi care probabil au ajuns să consume mai puţin decât o făceau înainte, ajungând să-şi înfrâneze dorinţele şi să se întrebe de unde vin ele şi mai ales ce e dincolo de ele. E bun, e rău? Nu e nicicum. E doar o altă posibilitate pe care evoluţia o explorează. Ca un mecanism de autoreglare. Ce e prea mult se taie, ce e prea puţin va creşte. Iar dacă tai suficient, rămâi gol în faţa ta, pentru că în fond asta suntem nu? nişte goluri..

tapirul spunea...

i'd say, dude, duh!?!!..