Economics of consumption
There is a greater awareness today than ever before about a possibly doomed future if we do not change our lifestyle. As such, many people today wish to lead an alternative life, but they too often express helplessness, being part of a larger system. This larger system appears to be oriented towards greater consumption and waste, hence the contradiction between individual intentions and collective action.
This micro economy is actually controlled by the macro economics of the whole state. Generally termed as capitalist mode of economy, it gained popularity when the cold war between the USA and USSR died down, and has now become worldwide during our globalising times.
In simpler terms, production and consumption are the key activities of this mode of economics, which generates profits in the process.
While many people within the production, marketing and service sector have become wealthy, equally many who are outside it have become poorer, though experts claim that the trickle down effect would enhance the lives of the deprived sector as well.
The reality has become harsher than any theory has predicted till date, with no proof to say that people have become happier over the decades.
Instead the hunger for more, need for the newer, irritation over the existing and craving for the special have grown exponentially.
Who is behind this collective phenomenon of consumption? What is the idea behind a new product or service from a company? Who is driving this rat race towards an endangered future? We may blame the theory called market economy and may claim helplessness against the collective trends, but let us realise, it is we the individuals who have formed it all and safeguarding it all.
Despite the capitalist economic model dominating us, if we wish, individually we can live a need-based life and achieve low carbon footprint.
There are many luxuries we can avoid, reduce air travel, minimise air conditioning, choose judicious products, use objects till the end of their economic life, avoid buying the new unless the old is not useable at all and live with local products.