The Pros And Cons Of Consumption

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Consuming has always played an important part in the shaping of society. It is through consumption that society is able to grow; providing economic stability, numerous jobs and services to the masses. Over the years, people began to consume not only the goods that they needed to live, but many more luxury goods to complement their lifestyles. Society today places a high value on owning many things, and is more dependent than ever on the population’s spending to maintain a healthy economic environment. A society of this type is known as a consumer society. The success of a consumer society depends on the level of disposable income its participants have. It can offer security and belonging to those who are able to consume efficiently, …show more content…
The rise in supermarkets has made it further possible for people to consume this way. In contrast to local shops on the high street that often sell only necessary items, supermarkets offer a vast array of goods under one roof including food, clothing and electrical items. Whilst this is seen by many as a positive thing, it is argued that as the supermarkets tighten their grip on the marketplace, more people begin to suffer. Dennis Wrong (1997) describes the power in this case as a zero-sum game, in the sense that the supermarket’s gain is balanced by the many losses that occur as a result of their dominance. For example, supermarkets have the power to demand discounts from small, often overseas suppliers who rely on the income from the big stores’ bulk buying to live. In her book Not on the Label (2004), Felicity Lawrence details how in meeting these demands to secure future business, suppliers are left with less money to ensure decent wages for their workers. Furthermore, the overseas workers are often subjected to cramped, unhygienic working conditions as supplier’s profit margins are squeezed by the big stores. While the supermarkets’ ability to pass on savings to their customers is a positive thing, smaller retailers often struggle to compete with their prices. Food writer Joanna Blythman (2005) states how the