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A Summary of and a Response to “Consumerism and Social Mobility”

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According to Benz and Benz in “Consumerism and Social Mobility”, there are several advantages and disadvantages to consumerism. The first advantage of consumerism is that due to high competition among companies, prices of goods are decreased to encourage more expenditure. The second advantage of consumerism is the diversity of choices which helps people easily choose the most suitable goods for their life at an affordable price. Last but not least, people have a comfortable lifestyle through consumerism. In contrast, there are two disadvantages to consumerism. One disadvantage of consumerism is personal debt which comes from the habit of spending too much money to purchase material goods. As a matter of fact, some people are even willing to borrow money from the bank in order to obtain the newest piece of technology or just some new trend that is going on.

Therefore, they fall into debt. In addition, people also want to buy a lot of luxury things because they believe that real happiness comes from the value of material goods. Not only do they believe that happiness comes from luxury things but they also want to be praised and recognize as an unique and modern person among the community based on the value of goods they possess. Thus, they think that they must buy more and more brand-name products to improve their image in the eyes of others. The other disadvantage of consumerism is the foreign debt. Consequently, the arrear of money to the bank they must pay is much more than what they earn in income, which has become a national problem that negatively affected the entire nation. Although people have a comfortable life through consumerism, they still often neglect the fact that they spend more than they own.

After reading the article, “Consumerism and Social Mobility” by Benz and Benz, I believe that the advantages of consumerism outweigh its disadvantages. Although it is true that consumerism has been defined as a positive feature which helps people have a comfortable life, one cannot deny that consumerism has many negative features. One example is that people often overuse PayPal, which let people purchase the products through the Internet, and they can easily pay with money that they have in their bank without limit, so over time they end up spent more than what they have in a bank and they need to borrow money from the bank.

Consequently, it is obvious that until now, people still don’t know how to use their credit cards responsibly. In my opinion, consumerism is a double edge sword, it can help and it can collapse an entire country with excessive consumerism. In addition, people buy brand-name products just for their own image, and it is not hard to recognize that rich people always step out with newest products to get attention of people around. For example, when the iPhone5 was introduced to the consumers, despite its convenience, we can see that some people who didn’t need it still bought it to show how rich they are.

Furthermore, based on the fact that people feel pressure on buying brand-new goods, I think people will do whatever they can even stealing money to obtain what they want because it is an addiction, having too much of something will always end up bad. In conclusion, I strongly believe consumerism is bad for society. However, consumerism is still essential to our economy, so authorities should imply rules and laws to make sure that consumerism does not destroy our country.

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