Friday, May 17, 2013

The virus of consumerism, and how it was spread

This is hardly funny, but do look up this link, everybody. This is something I have been writing about in various ways for a long time, this is how it actually happened, and this is how the US, once a truly 'leading' nation in the proper sense of the term, has been polluting the whole world's mindset continuously since the time radio and TV spread around the world... if you know about the disease and how it is spreading, it is slightly easier to resist it.


Sayan Datta said...


Sunandini Mukherjee said...

Dear Sir,
I wish atleast some people(young and old)whose very idea of a good life is eating,drinking and shopping read this post and understand that they are citizens and not merely consumers.
Buying the latest gadget/car/clothes/cosmetic is a disease that has affected nine out of ten people today and as you say,this disease has made them all the more spiteful and unhappy.Everywhere people are busy flaunting their dresses or phones or cars.I wonder how such people have the time and patience to firstly shop frantically in crowded shopping malls and then show off their petty possessions in public!
I intend to make some of my batchmates as well as one of my relatives read this article. I thank you for putting up this post.
With regards,

Subhadip Dutta said...

You have been telling this to us for the last 13 years Sir! My parents have been telling me these things ever since childhood!

The way the post has told everyone with examples from history is too good. I loved reading it. But I do not think I will try to enlighten too many people, because the effort will be pointless. I will be called a fool, and I do not want to be called a fool for trying to do something good. I learnt the lesson well. I will try to share this thing with some very good friends of mine who think like me, or somewhat like me.

In relation to this post I would like to narrate a small incident that has happened just recently. One of my flat mates has bought an Android Phone with the latest configuration. I saw the phone and praised it. He in turn told me, 'Poisa khoroch korte hobe boss, omni omni chole asbe? Ekta purono phone niye bose thako, aar bhalo bhalo phone sudhu dekhle hobe?' I in turn told him that I already have an android phone and when I bought it, it was the latest model in the market. Then I got the reply, 'Amar o orokom ekta chhilo. Kintu ekhon to technology upgrade hoechhe. Ekhon aar osob purono phone niye bose thakle cholbe?'

The fellow somehow does not understand that his phone is again going to get dated after 2 years. And I am very sure that he is again going to replace this phone with a new one after 2 years when he gets something better.

Products always improve. It creates the sense of dissatisfaction amongst consumers. That is what keeps a business running. People do not satisfy their needs anymore nowadays Sir. They satisfy their greed.

As I was reading about the 3 day week thing in the post, I recalled something that you had told us in class about what Gandhiji had said. 'The world has enough for every man's need, but not enough for even one man's greed.' It is this greed that businessmen are exploiting.

I am reading the book 'The Oath of the Vayuputras' at present. What I am reading about the 'Somras' there is somehow related to the greed that we have at present for the products that we are using. Excessive exploitation of resources will ultimately lead to complete destruction one day.


Subhadip Dutta said...

Someone shared this on facebook:

Nishant said...

Dear Sir,

Goebbels 'followed' Bernays! That says a lot. Although Bernays might have had a very bad influence on people in the US and, by extension, the world, I am impressed by the fact that he managed to do so by learning his uncle's theories.

I had never given it a thought, but it's true that the more technological progress we make, the more we seem to need to work. In some industries (I can speak for the oil-industry), they give an employee three weeks of vacation a year in the US, but in France, for instance, the national oil company gives them forty-five days off. In general, I have observed that Europeans seem to be more balanced in their lifestyles than Americans. They earn less and pay more taxes, but they still want to go back to Europe and live a 'better life'.

Apple is notorious for its planned obsolescence and once someone buys their product, he's pretty much in their grip. All the time we keep hearing and seeing ads that tell us what we need to buy and that we have the right(!) to upload all the photos we take etc. etc. Recently my old dumb-phone stopped working after three years of satisfactory service and I had a lot of trouble replacing it because they don't sell those any more.

Apart from everything the article says, there's one more card up the advertiser's sleeve: fear. If they can't entice the customer, they try to frighten them into buying something because it's good for their kids or for their dog or for themselves. Imagine your child crawling on a surface which is only 99% germ-free because you use Brand A! Use Brand B and it'll be 99.99% cleaner. And people actually go for Brand B.

I'll keep the name Bernays in mind for when we discuss about consumerism here next time.