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Amid the global recession, do you see the end of rampant consumerism and is that ultimately a good thing?

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NO, it is not a good thing but what options you have amid global recession? Low Pay, No Pay, No overtime allowance, working poor, work sharing... get rid of these new words (viruses?) and people will go on shopping spree soon !

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Yes, it is a good thing because right now, economic conditions are forcing people to live within their means and buy only what they need. Even if there were no recession, there is a limit to consumerism. How many more cell phones, TVs, video games, PCs, ovens, etc, do consumers need. I'm sure most households in Japan are like mine and are full of every possible gadget. I just don't need to upgrade my cell phone every few months.

Maybe, we will see shorter product life from now on so that we have to replace items.

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The end of consumerism would be an amazingly good thing, but I don't think this recession is it. People are generally too stupid and selfish to bother to look over their limited horizons. When this recession is over in a couple of years, we'll see people spending and borrowing without forethought as much as, if not more than, before.

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There will always be a market for products that people want to buy, or something that is a fad. Right now, Uniqlo and Nintendo are doing very well. Also, there is a class of wealthy people immune from the recession; you see them having afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton, oblivious to the economic realities. Good luck to them.

One good thing that is happening, and Brainiac above pointed it out, is the recession makes consumers live within their means. In other words, no more credit cards. I have used my credit card only once since last October. Everything is cash for me, and I make a monthly budget. If I have a little bit left over, then I splurge on something. This at least helps me to stay out of debt.

It doesn't mean living a spartan life. But nor do I need to buy things because of a marketing blitz by some company. Give us quality and give us cheap prices.

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If the recession leads to the end of rampant consumerism, I think that would be a very good thing. However, I think that the kind of downturn that would actually bring about that result would have be extremely dire. And, by dire, I am talking about serious social unrest to the extent that many, many people's lives would be at risk.

Such a prospect would have a profound impact on values, individual and social. I fear that we are likely headed for some very interesting times.

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This may be old to some, but here is an interesting take on consumerism and its end result. http://www.storyofstuff.com/ Pretty well presented case. I would love to hear somebody try and rip it to pieces.

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Yes, it's a good thing for some people. But in general, I think the Japanese people are very careful about their spending. This is the best lesson I have gained in Japan. Save and spend when you could afford it...

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Amid the global recession, do you see the end of rampant consumerism and is that ultimately a good thing?

Not sure.

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In the case of Japan,nope, it won't change much. Japan has a very complex consumerist attitude: people identify themsleves so much with brands that if you won't keep buying and showing off some specific articles, you won't be able to belong to your group anymore.Some goods are so fetishized that people don't even think about its market price; some young people sold their own body to buy some specific goods, and I am quite sure that a lot of them are ready to go down to one meal a day to afford some crap.

For me, the good side of this recession would be strong yen, that allow me to travel at very good prices.

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I'm not sure that question can be answered yet; however, I'll venture that it will slow consumerism only until people feel economically secure enough to renew their overconsumption --whether it'll have the same vigor or not, I'm guessing, with few pockets of exceptions, it will.

Never the less, consumerism, as noted, is a two-edged sword: It affords economic growth, scientific progress and stability but also brings us quite a bit of tangible drawbacks such as overdrawing of resources and negative environmental impact as well as affording people the opportunity (time and money) to indulge in behavior detrimental so society at large --this can be anything from buying too many TV sets, to affording ostentatious services and products --buying that second V-12 automobile instead of an I-4 or even an economical hybrid V6; diamond encrusted jewelry, gambling, hard drugs, vice, etc. I'm all for people living comfortably and buying things they need and some of the things they want --however, some companies cater to producing and availing objects and services to the crasser, baser side of people -just because it's possible and it's profitable (i.e. that mud bath with a 100% pure virgin olive oil washdown and caviar face-scrubbing kind of thing or whatever makes people feel more special than someone else.

I also think that the consumerist society eventually has all people not only believe but also expect that they should be able to attain those same absurd levels of consumption --and when it becomes evident they cannot, they, at times, engage in thievery and other antisocial behavior. It creates unreasonable expectations, I think.

Anyhow kind of funny, in an odd way, is noticing people who spend more money on their accessories for their autos than on the auto itself. For what; to impress friends or attract an SO --ok, but into your late 20s and some 30s?

I hope it helps people reflect on what the basics of life are --but I'm almost sure that won't last beyond the recovery.

That said, I'm not against the present system --it seems to be the best we've come up with, but needs some examination, rethinking and adjustment.

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Once the economy is on the rise again people will do exactly as they did before. Spend, spend, spend. Buy everything new that comes out. Live on credit. Max out 3 credit cards every month. It would be nice to see a change in people`s habits but I agree with Notginger that people generally are too stupid and selfish to see beyond meeting impulsive desires.

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The end of "rampant consumerism" definitely would be a good thing. However, whether the current recession will result in the end of "rampant consumerism" is likely to depend on how deep the recession becomes and how long it lasts. As a result of their experience, most of those who lived through the Great Depression in the 30s were more frugal and less willing to accumulate debt than the current generation. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that if the current recession causes serious economic disarray and lasts for years, it will have a long term impact on the behavior of those who live through it (and perhaps even their children).

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Let's hope it's the end of Rampant Capitalism. The banks and bankers of the system have proved what a bunch of unregulated crooks they are. Do we really want to continue with this crazy system? Just yesterday it was announced that yet another financier, the billionaire Sir Alan Stanford, has been uncovered as the latest crook to cheat thousands out of millions of their savings and investments.

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I agree with the majority of posts here in that while it would be nice to see rampant consumerism end, simply becuase its inevitable conclusion is the total depletion of natural resources, it's not likely to end and will pick up with vigor after this financial crisis passes. IMO, it's rampant consumerism that will largely help this crisis pass.

Perhaps a good thing from all of this is that lenders will be more realistic and critical of who they lend money to, and abandon the insanity of treating debt as a tradeable asset. Maybe, just maybe, that will lead more borrowers to live within their means.

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The end?

Who are you kidding? Ain't gonna happen.

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Everyone should be working. Needs do not go away. Take China for example only because of its numbers are so large. How do the 150 million migrant workers feel out of work? Pretty darn useless with their self worth going to zero. It is a crime.

Everyone should be given the opportunity to help out. It is for the individual person and the society. Just look at the work that need to be done! Rampant consumerism can go be forever gone. Bring in cooperation and caring for ones brother (or sister) together, internationally. Naive but I hope we are heading in that direction: Civilization of Love. Somehow history is bringing us all together.

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I think it's right time to think about consumer culture and our lifestyles, although we're not sure when we'll see its end. 'Our space' is now jammed up, and we don't know how to get ourselves out of materialism in this age of market capitalism and free trade.

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