Consumerism in the 21st Century

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    Feb 26, 2009 10:55 PM GMT
    Some of you may have seen my anti-cheap cars rant in the Future Cars thread, but that inspired me to create this thread.

    It can be said that America's (and other "Western" countries) financial success and the subsequent rise of American consumerism has allowed many previously "third-world" countries to develop middle classes which are now able to afford the very things they were previously supplying to the developed nations. On TV we see it all the time: the Chinese who eat fast food from disposable containers and are ditching their bicycles for a Chery, the Indians who, even though they live under a corrugated tin roof can talk on a cell phone and are about to buy $2000.00 car.

    So, what are your thoughts on the spread of consumerism? Do you think regional cultures will be erased even more as everyone becomes globalized? Do you think the environment will be able to handle the waste being produced? Do you think people in Western countries will still be able to afford their lavish lifestyle? Any other thoughts?
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    Feb 26, 2009 11:00 PM GMT
    Don't forget that globalisation has kinda gone into reverse...

    American housing bubble = slow down in China = pressure on America to keep the dollar strong (China owns trillions in dollars = declining industrial activity in America.

    It's a mixed up, muddled up world.
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    Feb 26, 2009 11:11 PM GMT
    Put your money in waffles. Delicious waffles with syrup.
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    Feb 27, 2009 12:17 AM GMT
    skifan08 saidDo you think regional cultures will be erased even more as everyone becomes globalized? Do you think the environment will be able to handle the waste being produced? Do you think people in Western countries will still be able to afford their lavish lifestyle? Any other thoughts?


    Reminds me of an article I read about the filming of "The Painted Veil"....a 1920's love story shot in China.

    The director recalled the following:


    I think all of us—both Western and Chinese—felt this was a once-in-a-lifetime deal and we wanted to enjoy it. You only had to look around to see how rapidly things were changing in rural China and we felt blessed to have the opportunity to capture on film what might soon be gone. We stayed in small converted hotels up the road from the village. At night, Naomi [Watts], Edward [Norton], the crew and I would walk home from shooting as the sun was setting and fall into step with locals making their way back from working in the fields. You’d look out into a rice paddy and see a farmer guiding a plow pulled by a water buffalo and you’d go into a sort of reverie, marveling at the timelessness of the image—until his cell phone rang and broke the spell.
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    Feb 27, 2009 12:47 AM GMT
    Fareed Zakaria, an Indian, does a good job at describing the future world....one in which America doesnt necessarily go down, but the rest of the world comes up ...and how that affects the way America will have to deal with the rest of the world and vice versa.

    post_american_world.jpg

    "Amazon.com Review
    Book Description
    "This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else." So begins Fareed Zakaria's important new work on the era we are now entering. Following on the success of his best-selling The Future of Freedom, Zakaria describes with equal prescience a world in which the United States will no longer dominate the global economy, orchestrate geopolitics, or overwhelm cultures. He sees the "rise of the rest"—the growth of countries like China, India, Brazil, Russia, and many others—as the great story of our time, and one that will reshape the world. The tallest buildings, biggest dams, largest-selling movies, and most advanced cell phones are all being built outside the United States. This economic growth is producing political confidence, national pride, and potentially international problems. How should the United States understand and thrive in this rapidly changing international climate? What does it mean to live in a truly global era? Zakaria answers these questions with his customary lucidity, insight, and imagination."

    http://www.amazon.com/Post-American-World-Fareed-Zakaria/dp/039306235X/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235695555&sr=8-2
  • josephmovie

    Posts: 533

    Feb 27, 2009 1:13 AM GMT
    It's called change, and although I might not like aspects of it, things have to move on. It's just the way it is.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Feb 27, 2009 1:15 AM GMT
    Consumerism and the global economy is one of the worst things for our cultures and our environment, in my opinion.
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    Feb 27, 2009 1:26 AM GMT
    It is all a simple case of The Solow Growth Model

    Solow_growth_model1.png
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    Feb 27, 2009 1:29 AM GMT
    5537B00B saidIt is all a simple case of The Solow Growth Model

    Solow_growth_model1.png


    Clearly. Bagel?
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    Feb 27, 2009 1:31 AM GMT
    Which you can look up on Wikipedia.
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    Feb 27, 2009 1:36 AM GMT
    Mmmm bagel...

    Thanks for the comments so far everyone! They're looking good!

    Caslon9000, thanks for the book recommendation. I'll give it a try. I always enjoy Zakaria's commentary when he's on CNN so I'll definitely give that a read some time.

    josephmovie, I understand change is necessary, but should we change just for the sake of change, or just because other people do it that way? For instance, in India all beverages used to come in glass bottles. After you drank your soda/whatever you took the bottles back and got a few cents for them. The bottles were taken back to a plant, sterilized, and reused. Nowadays you can still find these bottles, but they're slowly being replaced by plastic bottles which just end up getting thrown away after people are done with them. Is the change really beneficial? Just a thought.

    Thanks, again!
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    Feb 27, 2009 1:39 AM GMT
    Consumerism is a relatively new cultural concept that has yet to find its equilibrium. Other cultures have had its own equilibrium for centuries, and in some cases millennia.

    So if a country is going to enable the swapping of the older for the newer, they'd better hope they're right. Considering how well it is running here in the USA, that's a big risk!
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    Feb 27, 2009 3:12 AM GMT
    The movie Idiocracy is really a documentary. icon_lol.gif

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    Feb 27, 2009 3:57 AM GMT
    There's a lot of reasons why The eastern power-horse of economy stands a good chance of just tapering off...

    So I wouldn't consider it a huge threat as of yet

    Allthough if we are suggesting books this one provided many interesting incietes and got me through a 5 hour delay sitting on a plane in london

    future_files.jpg