The Negative Effects of Consumerism

1. Introduction:

In the last few decades, there has been a tremendous increase in consumerism. The term ‘consumerism’ can be defined as “the protection or promotion of the interests of consumers” (Dictionary.com, 2018). It is the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable and has a positive effect on the human species. In general, consumerism is believed to have negative effects on the society, environment, and health of individuals. Politicians and the media play a major role in promoting consumption. In this essay, I will discuss the effects of consumerism on the society, environment, and health.

2. Consumerism and the Media:

The media is one of the most powerful tools which promote consumerism. Advertising is a billion dollar industry and it aims to sell products by creating a need for them. It uses various techniques to lure people into buying things they do not need. For instance, ads often show people using a particular product in an attractive way or they may offer discounts which create a sense of urgency. They also target children as they are easy prey and lack the ability to differentiate between needs and wants. As a result, children beg their parents to buy them things which they do not need and this puts pressure on parents. In addition, the media also promotes celebrity culture which makes people want to own things that celebrities have. For instance, if a celebrity is seen using a particular brand of clothes or watches, people are likely to buy those products in order to feel like they are close to their idols. This creates unnecessary competition and envy among people.

3. Consumerism and the Environment:

Consumerism has detrimental effects on the environment as well. The production of goods requires a lot of resources such as water, oil, coal, etc. which are obtained from the environment. The manufacturing process also emits harmful gases into the atmosphere which pollute the air we breathe. In addition, the growing demand for goods has led to deforestation as companies clear forests to set up factories or mines. This has led to loss of habitat for animals and has also contributed to global warming. Moreover, most of the products we use are packed in plastic which is non-biodegradable and pollutes land and water bodies when discarded carelessly. All these factors have adversely affected the environment and have made it difficult for future generations to survive on this planet.

4. Consumerism and Health:

Consumerism also has an impact on our health. People nowadays are so busy chasing materialistic possessions that they do not have time for physical activity or healthy eating habits. As a result, they become obese and suffer from various diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, etc. In addition, the use of harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process of products can also cause health problems such as cancer or respiratory disorders. Moreover, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are also on the rise due to constant materialistic desire and comparison with others. Therefore, it is evident that consumerism is not good for our physical or mental health.

5. Consumerism and Society:

Consumerism also has an impact on society as a whole. It encourages people to spend beyond their means in order to keep up with others which leads to debt problems and financial instability. In addition, it promotes greed and selfishness as people become more concerned about themselves rather than others. As a result, social bonds are weakened and people become isolated. Moreover, consumerism also leads to wastefulness as people buy things they do not need and discard them after using them for a short while. This wastes valuable resources and also creates pollution. Therefore, it is evident that consumerism has negative effects on society.

6. Conclusion:

In conclusion, it is evident that consumerism has negative effects on the society, environment, and health of individuals. It is promoted by the media which creates a false sense of need among people. It also adversely affects the environment and our health. Moreover, it has a negative impact on society as a whole. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these effects and consume responsibly.


Consumerism has had a number of negative effects on society and the environment. It has contributed to increased levels of consumption and waste, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution. It has also been linked to social and economic inequality, as well as a range of health problems.

Consumerism has changed significantly over time, with a shift from need-based to want-based consumption. This change has been driven by a number of factors, including advertising, changes in technology and affluence, and the growth of credit and debt.

Consumerism poses significant challenges for sustainable development, particularly in terms of its impact on resource use and environmental degradation. These challenges can be addressed through a variety of measures, including reducing consumption levels, promoting more sustainable lifestyles, and increasing regulation of the marketing and advertising industries.

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