There are several steps that are necessary to restore America. In part one of this series, I explored the concept that we live our lives in the marketplace and that we have to find a way to separate or find some distance from a marketplace mentality. In this installment, I want to explore the issue of a consumer-based culture.
Our lives are driven by consumerism. Of course, consumerism is necessary in order to maintain our economy. We all need a gallon of milk, a gallon of water, and a gallon of gas to fuel our vehicles. There are basic needs that must be met in order just to live; however, the brand of consumerism that is practiced in America today is not driven by need but by want. It’s hard to believe that as a nation we consume 1/3 of our planet’s natural resources. But yet the United States composes only 4% of the world’s population. We have taken consumerism to an entirely new level.
The second principle is “it’s built to fail”. Even if you want to hold on to whatever you bought, whether that’s a car, an appliance or some other product, eventually it was built to stop working. Our whole consumerism is based on this very principle that nothing is built to last a lifetime any more. Whatever you buy today will be obsolete in short order. So even if you want to hold on to what you bought, our brand of consumerism will not allow that to take place.
Our brand of consumerism is ultimately based on the idea that the next purchase will bring us happiness. But when it doesn’t, we become delusional and feel the need to buy something else that will restore that sense of contentment. Buying things brings us happiness for only a moment. It is almost as if consumerism is very much like drugs. We have to take more of them to get the same effect.
I know people who have gone out and bought boats and swimming pools but never seem to have the time to use them. It doesn’t make sense does it? If we are going to restore America as a nation or individually, we have to find something to replace the type of consumerism we are caught up in. Buying things that we really don’t want or need doesn’t make any sense, does it?