Negative Effects of Consumerism Essay

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Negative Effects of Consumerism on North American Society

Consumerism is damaging to our society, in our North American society consumerism is often portrayed to be a negative aspect of people’s lives. However, one can also argue positive effects that result from consumerism, or emphasize on the negative effects of consumerism and how it can be a constraining force in one’s own life. Consumerism is an idea of an economic policy that the market is shaped by the choice of the consumer and continues to emerge to shape the world’s mass markets. Some of the negative effects of consumerism that many critics may argue and that will be further emphasized on are the overexploitation of consumerism which has lead to economic poverty, and increase
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The rich consume at the expense of the poor as further resources are expended maintaining this unequal balance of power. (Kaza, 2000)
Additionally, many environmentalists argue that consumerism has severe affects on the environment and blame it for many issues society is currently facing. Some major concerns about consumerism are that it can cause pollution, land contamination, and forest degradation. The production and waste of products used in consumption is related to pollution. Industrial waste and automobiles are primary examples, as well as waste from industrial agriculture and individual consumer waste. A main issue that exists is the exporting of pollution and waste from developed countries to poorer countries, a process which is done due to the fact that poorer countries have lower standards or exempt from the emission reduction targets (Shah, 2010). Similarly, according to the Chief economist for the World Bank Larry Summers the World Bank should be encouraging more migration of dirty industries to less developed countries, ironically the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is perfect, however there are many countries in Africa that are vastly under-polluted. Their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to city like, Los Angeles or Mexico City (Robbins, 1999). According to Larry Summers,
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