What were Marx's ideas about consumption
and a consumer society?
Before capitalism, societies tended to exchange goods or
produce them for immediate consumption.
Consumption grew to become a quintessential part of
the human experience when feudalism ended
and capitalism was introduced
Marx and Engels (a german philosopher) viewed the introduction
of capitalism as the end to production for need and the beginning
of production for profit
So, how do workers become consumers in a capitalist society?
First, workers produce goods in exchange for wages.
Next, these goods are sold for a profit.
Finally, workers pay for goods with the wages they have earned.
Consumerism is a cycle.
2. These goods are sold for a profit
1. Workers produce goods to earn wages
3. Workers use the wages they have earned to buy and consume goods.
How does a capitalist and consumer society remove one's identity?
Labor is external to workers.
Workers don't feel like themselves when they are working.
The labor is not the satisfaction of a need, but satisfies
needs outside itself.
In order to live, people must consume things.
So, people are denied identity through working because it is uncreative production
To establish their identity, people need to creatively consume
An example of creatively consuming would
be entertainment like reading books and watching movies.
Creatively consuming helps one to establish their identity
through interests. The things you enjoy engaging in help
shape who you are
The overall process ENCOURAGES people to consume.
If people don’t feel creative when they are working and
only feel like themselves when
they are consuming, then they are feeding into
the system of capitalism and consumerism
Ultimately, the entire ideology of a consumer society encourages
the worker to feel alienated and uncreative doing labor so that they
can feel creative and more like themselves when
they put their wages towards consuming goods.