Why is the consumer society dominating in today's world?

  • Thread starter Spathi
  • Start date
  • Tags
    Youtube
In summary, the consumer society dominates in today's world due to various factors such as the rise of globalization, advancements in technology, and the influence of advertising and social media. The desire for material possessions and the constant pressure to keep up with societal trends has led to a culture of overconsumption and consumerism. This has in turn driven economic growth and fueled the production of goods, creating a cycle of consumption and production that is difficult to break. Additionally, the consumer society has also been perpetuated by the convenience and accessibility of online shopping and the emphasis on individualism and personal satisfaction. Despite its negative impact on the environment and society, the consumer society shows no signs of slowing down in today's world.
  • #1
Spathi
74
7
Currently in the whole word the consumer society is dominating. This is shown, for example, by the fact, that most people are anxious very much about their revenue and prosperity. As far as I know, there was not such anxiety in 19th century. The realities of our century, for example, are that during the wars people often suffer from economical sanctions more, than from the military operations themselves.

Some people are trying to find out why such a situation has appeared. I have heard such interpretation from some people in Russia: “previously they wanted us to become communist builders, and now they want us to become consumers”.

I think that in reality the reason for emergence of the consumer society is unexpectedly banal: such mass media, as TV channels and radio stations, are obliged to put a lot of advertisement in their content, because they do not have other sources of revenue. And the excess of advertisement forms the consumer society itself.

The first mass media were newspapers, which earned on direct sales. When radio and television appeared, these mass media appeared to have no such possibility of earnings – you can not directly pay for viewing a TV program. Because of that, TV and radio had to earn by the advertisements only. This problem in principle could be solved organizationally, in governments instituted a TV tax, calculated the ratings of TV channels and paid the channels a part of this tax, proportional to the channel’s rating. But this task proved too difficult for the politicians.

The moderator asked me to give the provement of this statement, so:

https://startuptalky.com/tv-channels-revenue-explained/

TV channels earn a fancy amount of money mostly by advertising. It basically shows some seconds of advertisement in between its show and then charges some amount of money to the advertising company.
There is a good amateur film concerning the subject: "History of stuff":



In this video it is said, that the consumer society appeared mainly in 1950th. This was the time when television became popular, so this film confirms the idea of the connection between the consumer society and TV ads.

Recently the paid subscription has appeared at youtube, and this seem to be a great blessing. I suppose, when the humanity transfers from TV to paid youtube, the "power of advertisement" will end. However I see that youtube bloggers place ads in their video, so I hope a next step will be made - direct payments to the authors of the videos (or transferring from youtube to Vimeo).
 
  • Like
Likes 256bits
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Don’t hold your breath about the death of advertising. It’s an industry that just won’t die and will always find ways to advertise a product to you.

What usually happens is a new communication channel is born with advertising supporting it. They then make it a subscription model and then figure out a way to slip in advertising again via product usage or product placement.
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters and 256bits
  • #3
Spathi said:
In this video it is said, that the consumer society appeared mainly in 1950th. This was the time when television became popular, so this film confirms the idea of the connection between the consumer society and TV ads.
Hmmm. I've added the bold. @Spathi, because I'd question whether it confirms it or merely asserts it. As counterpoint, this random site asserts, "While people across many different civilizations and time periods have always purchased and consumed goods, the modern concept of consumerism is best understood to have begun in the late 1600s in Europe."

Another counterpoint to your thesis - or perhaps it's The History of Stuff's thesis? - is Professor Frank Trentmann's Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First.

Or you can consider Professor Mary Hilson and collaborators Silke Neunsinger and Greg Patmore who produced an account of the consumer cooperative movement in A Global History of Consumer Cooperation Since 1850: Movements and Businesses.

I think the assertion that mass media as we experience it - television in the 1950's, for instance - triggered consumerism is debatable, but I think it is certainly an argument that it turbocharged it!
 
  • Like
Likes PeroK and russ_watters
  • #4
Spathi said:
Currently in the whole word the consumer society is dominating. This is shown, for example, by the fact, that most people are anxious very much about their revenue and prosperity. As far as I know, there was not such anxiety in 19th century.
That claim may be false.
 
  • Like
Likes PeroK and 256bits
  • #5
Spathi said:
Recently the paid subscription has appeared at youtube, and this seem to be a great blessing. I suppose, when the humanity transfers from TV to paid youtube, the "power of advertisement" will end.
Hah! Not a chance! As soon as youtube has hooked enough people with their subscriptions they'll start throwing ads back in the videos. It's simply too lucrative not to.

Spathi said:
This problem in principle could be solved organizationally, in governments instituted a TV tax, calculated the ratings of TV channels and paid the channels a part of this tax, proportional to the channel’s rating. But this task proved too difficult for the politicians.
I don't think this would be a good solution and I think it would last about as long as it would take some politicians to realize how much extra money they could rake in by letting a few ads back on TV.

Spathi said:
In this video it is said, that the consumer society appeared mainly in 1950th. This was the time when television became popular, so this film confirms the idea of the connection between the consumer society and TV ads.
It's also around the time that mass production of very cheap consumer items really became possible. Various plastics like teflon, polyester, polypropylene, and others were all invented around this time, which allowed for the manufacture of very, very cheap consumer goods that you could just throw away instead of taking care of. In addition the economy of the world started to recover from WW2 and the US in particular experienced soaring economic expansion and prosperity, giving huge numbers of people a relatively large amount of disposable income compared to previous generations.

The electronics industry also continued to expand, and the development of the transistor gave rise to a scale of electronics production that was greater than virtually everything else on Earth combined. Seriously. The MOSFET is probably the most manufactured item in history, with an estimated 1.3x10^22 number of them being manufactured between 1960 and 2018.

Ads only exist as long as people can afford the products being advertised. So it's a combination of falling prices, expanded options, and greater disposable income that ultimately allows for a consumer society. And let's also account for the greater experience that companies have with advertising their products as well. Both in medium specific ways and overall. A lot of time, money, and effort has been spent by companies to see how best to advertise their stuff to you. Hell, entire companies exist solely to help other companies advertise.

And let's not discount ourselves, the consumers. We're the ones spending the money. We have ultimate control over whether a company fails or succeeds. If we didn't want a consumer society we could stop it in an instant. But you'd have a better success rate herding cats than you would changing everyone's mind.
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters, 256bits and BvU
  • #6
In addition to what @Drakkith has stated, as well as the other commentators, consumerism started with the industrial revolution and the movement from an agrarian society to a working class society. [ started may be the incorrect term, but with factories putting out products there had to be some one to buy the product. Perhaps more pronounced is more applicable description ] . The rise of the middle class with an increase in disposable income led people to buy products in addition to that necessary for survival.
Advertisements allow lead people to see what is out there - in the 1950's new fancy washing machines, kitchen gadgets, flashy cars, ... , Don't forget the baby boomer population explosion - more mouths to feed, to house to entertain, to school, to clothe, more holidays to celebrate and buy gifts. Advertising, ( and smart marketing ) went along for the ride rather than being an instigator of the consumer society as we now 'love and enjoy'.

BTW, when did a marketing degree first appear at a university.
You can advertise, but wasted dollars if you do not know your market.
 
  • #7
Spathi said:
This problem in principle could be solved organizationally, in governments instituted a TV tax, calculated the ratings of TV channels and paid the channels a part of this tax, proportional to the channel’s rating.
What if I choose to NOT watch TV? I don't need it, don't want it, and I still have to pay for it?

How do I create a new channel? I ask the permission of the government if they want to pay for my budget and accept whatever they give me - if they give me something? What if a politician or public official doesn't like my content?

Drakkith said:
And let's not discount ourselves, the consumers. We're the ones spending the money. We have ultimate control over whether a company fails or succeeds. If we didn't want a consumer society we could stop it in an instant.
65688813.jpg
 
  • #8
If you don't want the coffee table then don't buy the coffee table, Tyler. No need to get so upset about it.
 
  • #9
symbolipoint said:
That claim may be false.
That's an understatement!
 

Related to Why is the consumer society dominating in today's world?

1. What impact does consumer society have on YouTube?

Consumer society has a significant impact on YouTube as the platform relies heavily on advertising and sponsorships from consumer brands. This can lead to a focus on creating content that appeals to consumerism and may influence the types of videos that are promoted and recommended to viewers. Additionally, the pressure to constantly consume and keep up with trends can lead to a culture of materialism and overconsumption among both content creators and viewers.

2. How does YouTube contribute to consumerism?

YouTube contributes to consumerism by providing a platform for brands to advertise their products and for creators to promote sponsored content. The platform also relies on algorithms to recommend videos to viewers, which can lead to a constant barrage of advertisements and product placements. Additionally, content creators often showcase their material possessions and promote the idea of purchasing certain products to their viewers, further fueling consumerism.

3. How does consumer society affect the content on YouTube?

Consumer society heavily influences the content on YouTube. As the platform relies on advertising and sponsorships, content creators may feel pressure to create videos that align with consumerism and promote certain products or brands. This can also lead to a homogenization of content, as creators may feel the need to follow trends and produce similar types of videos in order to gain views and sponsorships.

4. Is YouTube contributing to a culture of materialism?

YouTube's focus on consumerism and constant promotion of products and material possessions may contribute to a culture of materialism. The platform can create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) and the pressure to constantly consume and keep up with trends. This can also lead to individuals feeling dissatisfied with what they have and always wanting more, contributing to a culture of materialism.

5. How can we create a healthier balance between consumer society and YouTube?

To create a healthier balance between consumer society and YouTube, individuals can be more conscious of the content they consume and the influence it may have on their purchasing habits. Content creators can also be more mindful of the messages they promote in their videos and consider the impact of consumerism on their viewers. Additionally, YouTube can implement stricter regulations on advertising and sponsored content to reduce the pressure on creators to constantly promote products and brands.

Similar threads

  • Art, Music, History, and Linguistics
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
10
Views
2K
Replies
6
Views
3K
Replies
17
Views
3K
Replies
39
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
3K
  • Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
2
Replies
56
Views
5K
Replies
22
Views
4K
  • General Discussion
Replies
29
Views
9K
Replies
4
Views
3K
Back
Top