Malaysia and Materialistic Values Essay

Submitted By abby1221k
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Materialism In terms of religious subcultures, it is important to understand their influence on specific values of consumer behaviour. One value that is becomingly increasingly evident globally is Materialism. Materialism can be defined as, “the importance people attach to owning worldly possessions” (Schiffman, et al. 2011). The topic of materialism is becoming a widely researched area, as different priorities and purchasing behaviours influence the formation of attachments with positions. Originally developed as a western idea, Materialism was thought to be the most prominent in the United States. Now, through globalisation, cultures are becoming more ‘westernized’ and the topic of materialism is thought to be increasingly globally relevant (Ger and Belk, 1995). With globalisation and westernisation comes the theory that developing countries are emulating westernised lifestyles (Ger and Belk, 1995). As Malaysia’s economy grows and the country itself is becoming more industrialised, materialistic values are becoming increasingly important. Although evidence suggests that marketing appeals to materialism do exist in Malaysia (, it is not a popular trend and there are many forces against the growth of it. Malaysia has had periods in time in which spending increases and in turn, materialism is a more legitimate concern, but this country is mainly focused on happiness through religion, family and culture (Staying Cool, 1992). As mentioned earlier, most of the Malaysian population follows Islam; this would affect how westernized of a country Malaysia is. Both the Islamic and Buddhist religions do not promote materialistic values, making the idea of materialism in Malaysia unsuitable. Research also suggests that in Malaysia, economic conditions do not necessarily have an impact on how individual consumers evaluate their own levels of materialism and concern with status (Jusoh, Heaney and Goldsmith, 2001). When considering both religious and economic factors in terms of Malaysian consumer behaviour, it is clear to see that their values do not relate directly to those of a materialistic nature. Some materialistic behaviour would include the showing off of possessions and relating the accumulation of possessions to happiness. To add to both the religious and economic ideas regarding materialism, Malaysia has also introduced laws in the past to reduce spending. Mahathir Mo-hamad, the Malaysian prime minister in the 1990’s, created credit controls to reduce the threat of materialism in order to protect vulnerable, spiritual easterners. Making it more difficult to apply and obtain a credit card as well as purchasing items on credit is not as easy in Malaysia as it is in other…