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Consumerism is on the rise

Chris Patty, Staff Writer, The Hi-Times

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Consumerism, defined as the preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods, has greatly increased over the years. Christmastime is coming, and children’s wish lists have been getting larger and larger over the years. Way back when, children used to ask for small, simple things, like baseball bats or toy trains. As time has progressed, children have been asking for more and more larger objects, such as expensive gaming consoles and giant television systems.

Compared to Americans 60 years ago, the average American eats out far more often and owns twice as many cars as we did in the 1950s. With everyone wanting more of this and more of that, we lose focus on what happiness is. Most people associate happiness with their possessions, and that is a huge flaw in American society. With all the large commodities out today, such as smartphones, huge cars and gigantic TVs, we often lose sight of life’s true goal.

It sounds cliche, but spending time with friends and family fuels a person’s true happiness. Research has shown that those who have more material objects tend to have less contact with third-party friends and family, and those are the same people who never feel content with life. Now this is not always the case. There are many people who can balance wealth and happiness, but take note that multitasking is not the same as balancing. You can multitask your life, as in working 60 or more hours a week, hosting dinner parties and staying fit by exercising every day, but this doesn’t mean you’re balancing your life. You can do all these things, but in the end it all sums up to material things rarely buy one’s happiness.

In America, we all know that we’re good at wasting food, but when we look at the numbers, it gets a little overwhelming. We oftentimes never eat everything on our plates, plus all the food we let spoil and rot in our freezers and refrigerators. Around a third of all the food in America, plants and meats included, is wasted and thrown out. In the world, around 2.8 trillion pounds of food is lost or wasted every year. That is enough food to sustain nearly 3 billion people. In America alone, we waste $162 billion worth of food annually. If we were to stack that on a football field, the layers would form an atrocious casserole several miles high.

All in all, consumerism today all boils down to the simple fact that most Americans think that money and material objects bring happiness. All of our brains have been programmed to believe that the stuff we have now isn’t as good as the stuff out in the market. Ever since that belief started, we have been on a downhill slide into economic poverty and materialistic views.

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Consumerism is on the rise