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Robert Cirtojanu

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Is consumerism a threat for our planet?

I really think consumerism a more serious problem than terrorism,global warming and polution,for the main fact that the mainkind is not aware of this problem. Think about our electronic devices ,we change them imediatly they have a little damage,we never think in replace the broke part we simply replace the device.

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    Oct 19 2013: Yes it is of course consumerism that is threatening our existence on the planet and also wiping out great swathes of people in third world countries as a result of first world decadence. So what is the root of consumerism? A culture? Where did that come from? We´re encouraged to spend constantly. In consumerist countries, relaxing means watching TV and browsing the web and that means being consistently bombarded with advertisements. We´re told it is good for us, that we must have a free market economy so that "the consumer is the winner". Not the reality. But consumerism doesn´t have to be so problematic. I think it is the dynamics of the system which provides us with consumer goods that is driving the world´s inhabitants to the brink of doom. "Scarcity" is a myth. The planet is oozing with natural wealth and the resources are abundant. But technology is held back. Technically speaking, we don´t actually need oil any more. Plastics and fuels already have alternatives and provide the same end product. Even aeroplanes are in fact very heavy and slow compared to the electromagnetic tunnels we should be building which would allow carriages to travel at 4000 mph with little energy expenditure. We don´t need non-renewable energy when we´ve got geothermal energy. We also don´t need a crippling banking system and economic monopolies. But it is the big boys in play that create the system and hold us back. That is what is threatening our planet. Why is this happening? Because of ignorance. People are unwilling to boycott and encourage the fat cats´ system to fail because they just don´t know any details. The commercial system is designed to keep us distracted and pretty much dumb. If we could just persuade everyone to turn off their TVs and think a little... they might realise the system, that is fulfilling their consumerist dreams actually pales in comparison to the abundance they could be given. We need to abandon the monetary system and move to a resource based economy.
    • Oct 19 2013: All the stuff your saying, on what grounds do you assume thats the truth.. How do you believe humanity can make the shift from your so called "decay" and moral/economic/technological stupor to developing the utopian myth you dream of? what move are you making to change? have you ever considered the alternatives and the potential consequences? have you ever thought perhaps you only have a slice of truth in a bigger pie? Have you thought your personal problems with the world is a projection of a problem you have within you? are you seeing disgust when you should be comprehending mankind and the institutions we have established? you think maybe your not thinking this through?
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        Oct 19 2013: Oh God, you're right! I haven't thought this through at all!
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        Oct 19 2013: Sorry Keith, I shouldn´t have been sarcastic with you. I´m perfectly willing to discuss your questions with you, they are valid enough. Although, that´s a lot of questions and the answers are enormous.

        Firstly, it is unlikely that I´m not thinking big enough. I´ve travelled the world twice over and I´ve been working since I was 13 years old. I´m a wealthy business man and I´ve seen it all. I´ve interpreted between governments and board members at the top of massive pharmaceutical companies, and I´ve cleaned bathrooms in Australian youth hostels. If I have any personal problems, it would be that I feel a certain level of guilt and decadence when I look at our planet. Comprehending the beauty and elegance of mankind´s established institutions is easy enough, it is plain to see. Looking deeper and removing YOUR apparent innocence, Keith, is another matter. Our institutions are exploited and once you look closer you´ll see that some of these institutions are exploitative by nature.

        Yes I have considered the consequences of alternative methods. Unfortunately, the defenders of capitalist ideologies are so staunch that they are even unwilling to so much as look at alternatives. They are in love with the system. It is the American religion. Fair enough, good luck to you. But if you aren´t even willing to so much as look at alternatives, who is the one being closed minded?

        Having looked at your other thread comments, such as the one in which you say that the American government doesn´t actually want to go to war, I´d say that you´re missing some key knowledge about the banking system and it´s controllers. But who am I to speculate about the extent of your knowledge.

        If you want to get a new conversation thread going about the alternatives to monetary systems in order to allow technology to advance more, why don´t you start another thread completely? And I mean impartially, so that you can look at it and then question it as much as you like.
        • Oct 19 2013: Believe me History has attempted alternatives and it ended badly.. If capitalism was as courrupt and cutthroat as you say it couldnt possibly have existed for so long raising every nation out of poverty who adopt the system... In 1900 only %1 of Americans earned $100,000/yr in the value of year 2000 currency, and 100 years later one of every four AMericans made that value. Capitalism is bringing the ddeveloped world out of poverty and it had and continues to innovate technologies and medicine by which millions benefit.. the global economic system is creating partnerships where nothing but boundaries once existed. You cant grasp the fact there are only two extremes when it comes it confinguring a society.. either the economy is FREE and run by the relationship of supply/demand or a system run by a consolidated power structure that engineers the society.. Look man communism has failed and although what you believe you probably dont label "communism" but what is it?? Try to realize you cannot control a nations economy without controlling its people.
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        Oct 19 2013: Yes, it has brought millions of Americans out of poverty. But that was partly thanks to a largely left wing battle to raise wages (fought, and to a certain extent won, by the Bolsheviks) during the oil booms which spread across America and eastern Europe. Yes, obviously wealth spread wealth too. But the cost is high as a kite. It may not affect you and I so much, but the other nations that are exploited in order to provide you with that wealth are paying the bill and in the future America will too. Those nations are kept poor so that they can be pillaged to provide you and I with either stolen or very cheap goods. It isn´t just "the magic of Capitalism", it is an economic empire which has systematically robbed the planet and continues to, just as other empires have previously.

        Well, I take it from your comment that you certainly are not interested in exploring alternatives. Your banking system is not set up to blow gold everywhere, it is designed to hoard it and I´m starting to get the impression that you don´t know how the banking system really works and who owns it. Until you figure out what the banks (particularly the Fed, a private institution) are doing, I think I´ll save my breath.
        • Oct 19 2013: Our banking systems are flawed but they are set up to enable a progressive left-wing system.. See you need to borrow money in order to spend at the rate progressive politicians want. Many people will argue its progressive politics that has ruined the economic landscape of the west. Welfare keeps people in a state of perpetual poverty as subsidies allow intrusive government policies to control society while the government steals tax dollars making it so the working class is paying a third of its income to a beauracry that wastes money. Minimum wage could be a viable means of making a living if taxes were not high. Its not Americas, Japans or any other "capitalist" countries fault if exploitation occurs over sees. Walmart couldnt operate in China if China didnt allow them. Business is oppurtunistic nobody denies and when in Rome you do as the Romans do. Thus its the fault of the governments who allow exploitation. The US courts dont have authority to punish or regulate what companies do over-sea. people in China are grateful of US companies who offer jobs.. In capitalism its about consent and social contracts therefore if a worker is willing to work for $3 a day then thats a gentlemans contract.. you dont need strong government regulation and protect to maintain the status quo, all you need is protection by law of individual freedoms.. What countries are being forcefully held back unless its by their own oppressive regimes?? you need serious reevaluation of the world.. Capitalism is a system of self-interest that is balanced by the rule of law A and B by the principal of cooperation and social cohesiveness. Cutthroat capitalism creates hostility and division that is counterproductive to a healthy productive business model. You cant operate as a busininess if you burn your bridges (all business is interconnected because a multitude of resources and investors are required) and deter your consumer base
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        Oct 20 2013: again, sorry for my impatience.

        We have a lot to talk about.

        Here is a taster for you:

        100 % of your income tax goes directly to paying the INTEREST on the debt to the Federal Bank (a stake holder institution).
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      Oct 20 2013: First of all let me make it clear i am absolutely neutral and probably ignorant too. So answer my questions without thinking that i am implying anything.You wrote-"The planet is oozing with natural wealth and the resources are abundant. But technology is held back". If this is the case why doesn't someone who is in on "the system" actually double cross the others and release all those wonderful technologies you mentioned in the public domain and earn astronomical profits? I am talking about selling the electromagnetic tunnel technology, say, to China for billions maybe even trillions of dollars. If they are in it for the money then surely that's an end-game amount. Also how can any new invention come about if there are people at the top screening everything? I mean those controlling coal deposits would never have allowed natural gas and oil to come to the fore in the first place but technology did change, didn't it? I reiterate, i am not even skeptical of what you say, just curious about these logical points.
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        Oct 20 2013: "But technology is held back". If this is the case why doesn't someone who is in on "the system" actually double cross the others and release all those wonderful technologies you mentioned in the public domain and earn astronomical profits"

        Take a break, Tom. OK, one small step at a time. This one above. Double cross? Law suits and protection of more to come. Let's say I come up with an invention. I need you to help me get the resources I need to massively produce my invention. You can not steal it because I have a patten on it already, a law suit you can not win. Now, what is the best thing for the both of us from this point on? You provide me with the resources (material) as cheap as possible it takes to make this product. Sam provides me with production machines (no new technology here, he also gets his resources from you to make his machines) for his fair share of the profits of this invention. All of this takes place and I already have the "new and improved" item on the shelf just when the production of the first invention begins to fall. I'm thinking of the iphone for some reason here. Hell, I have at least 3 years of product improvements in advance to sell to the people as long as you keep providing the resources and Sam keeps the machines up to par. It's a life time win for the 3 of us. Here is the catch to make it last a life time, all the improvements I can do now, I won't because all three of us can make a ton of money if I just add one small improvement to what already exists. That's a load of money each year! And you know the consumer has GOT TO HAVE THE BEST ON THE MARKET! Advertise Advertise Advertise to keep them up with the Jones's
        Get it? and to add, all the old products go into the garbage or handed down to children. I need you again for more resources.
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        Oct 20 2013: electromagnetic tunnel technology

        Do you realize how many people would be out of work if this tunnel existed tomorrow? Now, things to do verses "work" is extremely different. I do many things. I don't work though, not by choice exactly either.

        Do you know how many people would be out of work if the world only used 50% of oil it uses today? Either that or they would be standing around looking at each other 4 out of 5 days a week getting paid to "work". Wait a minute, that's already happening!

        If communism was the same as it was 60 years ago, today no one would have a shovel in their hand :B However, this is no utopia nor communism what I see as humans bettering ourselves as a whole unit.
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          Oct 21 2013: so you are saying firstly that an inventor tries to milk the maximum out of his work instead of looking after the best interest of his buyers. no problem.got that. actually i am not sure if the inventor is even in the wrong.

          What was more difficult to digest was the idea that technology if allowed to progress will eliminate or at least reduce human resource requirement. So people are continuing with an inferior technology to keep people in work?
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        Oct 21 2013: "i am not sure if the inventor is even in the wrong."

        In a monetary system, it is excepted and is "individually" righteous (free market). The worse thing about a democracy is the unlimited amount of individualism (a monopoly in extreme measures). The unlimited desire to want and have only for ourselves, to take home. Do you own an electric drill, Jnana? Now, how often do you use it? This is what I mean. Massive production for everyone to own not to use very much on a daily basis. Somehow we are convinced we need to own a drill and to ask to share one is pitiful or untrustworthy of using it. Dude, get your own! How often do we put it to use? LOL women and their bread makers, blenders, pancake gadget, dehydrators ...ect. all these kitchen items that are used once every two years if that, only clutters up every kitchen in the US. I'm glad I don't have to deal with that anymore. haha! Point is, why not share these items in every community? Greed.

        So people are continuing with an inferior technology to keep people in work?
        Yep, every day. And when the breakthrough happens people lose jobs instead of working less hours with the same continuing pay. Look what happened to many car factories. The more machines the less amount of workers which in turn generated more money for the "owner" in the long run after investing in the machines to take their place. You as a business man, do you keep the 25 workers? What's best for "your company"?
        My question to you now..
        So, what do we do? Cut back on the need of workers creating capitalism (you're either rich or poor) or do we slow down the rapidly advancing technology or invention you just created? Someone out there wants to by and own your invention just to bury in the ground to keep people working. This is the problem our generation needs to solve SOON!
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          Oct 21 2013: well i have to say your arguments are consistent. Honestly, i did not really know of this capitalism 'system' in the first place. I guess its another point of view i must strongly consider. it just seems a little difficult to accept that someone is controlling so much of the world. makes you feel like a puppet.but if it really is so then we are in serious trouble. I will have to find more about it.
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    Oct 19 2013: A mere 30 years or so consumers were able to buy the parts to fix almost anything themselves and repair persons where reliable community resources. No more. We are told time and time again that it would be cheaper and easier to replace the item than to try and repair it. This change offers significant financial advantages to business and industry while further disempowering the consumer.

    Over the past few years consumers have found themselves paying more at the grocery store and going home with less. Packages and products we have purchased for years contain less and less and cost more and more time and time again. .

    So yes, the consumer has been taking a beating lately but that is nothing compared to the loss of our dwindling resources feeding all that profiteering.

    I agree that comparing a terrorist event to the problems flowing from this consumer culture is going to be difficult for many to accept, but the looming terror of resource exhaustion and environmental loss and contamination in terms of fisheries, forestry, industrial farming, nuclear waste,climate change and a host of other consumption related problems not being honestly addressed is a terrifying reality for those on the front lines of these changes.
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    Oct 19 2013: Yes it is. There should be an ethical limit of personal consumption as terrestrial resources, though enormous, are not limit less. At least three out of nine life support systems of earth have been surpassed beyond a point of no return and consumerism is at the core of that. There are whole islands of plastic bottles and caps in the Atlantic, holes in the ozone layers as large as continents and and as tall as the Everest because of consumerism. In the last decade of the last century we were appropriating as much as 40% of the total terrestrial photo-synthetic produce just as a single species because of consumerism.
    We have completely forgotten with what little we can live healthily and peacefully because of consumerism.
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    Oct 18 2013: The culture of consumerism is certainly a threat to sustainable development. This in no way means that we should completely abandon modern technologies and become hippies. What we produce, how we produce and the reason we buy things should change. In the culture of consumerism, consuming is the end and not the means. Material goods should increase our ability to make this world a better place. We need far better technologies than we have today but their production should increase the overall quality of life in the planet. Their consumption should also do the same. The current culture of consumerism is just focused on increasing wealth or the illusion of increasing wealth.
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    Oct 20 2013: YES: in fact consumerism lies behind much pollution, global warming and indeed terrorism.
    And behind perpetuating consumerism lies the banking system, and the controllers of that are a small group of people stuck in "group-think" blocking the many good solutions that have been around for some time.
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    Oct 18 2013: A few people have pointed out that before consumerism kills the planet it will kill us! And therein lies the problem with consumerism- absolute disregard for anything, even our own existence, for the sake of consumption. Consumerism even in its utopic form has no way of sustaining life for a long period of time. I don't know how it became such a big hit in the first place!
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    Oct 18 2013: Da Way,
    The planet can exist just fine without us. In fact, an Australian University created a film where they estimated that it would take about a thousand years to erase all existence of man. It was fascinating. And that is my point. Homo Sapiens has been on earth almost no time in the life of earth and could be gone in an earth blink of the eye. That is why when I read all these threads about how man is bringing the end to the earth, depleting all the resources, causing an earth fever.... I find a tad overstated. I believe the best man can do is wipe out himself and that is nearly impossible because some will not want to play the game and hide away to survive.... thus spoiling the "end of all mankind" argument.
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    Oct 15 2013: The consumerism we have formed is inseparable linked to global warming and pollution and even cause to certain forms of terrorism and as part of the whole a threat to our planet.

    By changing just two basic factors of consumerism to : 100% green energy & 100% recycling, its current threat vanishes completely.

    The fact that this hasn't been changed yet is not a technical problem, its a defect in the DNA of the current economy.
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    Oct 21 2013: Yes it is a big Threat as it divides the Society.
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    Oct 20 2013: Excellent topic.

    Consumerism is the biggest threat to our planet and humanity.
    Solutions must be implemented at the production level.
    The time to implement and enact solutions is now.

    (Please read my longer post just made at:
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/20665/what_are_your_ideas_plans_on_c.html?c=760947)

    This TED Talk is really worth watching.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/edward_burtynsky_on_manufactured_landscapes.html
    ( summary-18 min length- free on the internet)

    And the even better presentation
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVE0zCivtCY
    (a full movie format ~ 1hr30min length- free on the internet
  • Da Way

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    Oct 18 2013: To humanity? 100% yes, to the planet? No necessarily. The planet can exist just fine without humans.
  • Oct 18 2013: Yup. It's consumption with out regard to resource supply or environmental effects of such consumption or sustainability for multiple generations to come. Why aren't most plastic products made from recycles? Is it really that necessary to have wood casing pencils? Does it speak upon humans that we actually have land fills? Is it economically feasible to have much more focus on waste for producing next generation products?
  • Oct 18 2013: My point is well illustrated by http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-stuff/ which explains the issue with the rate of consumption in the US.

    But I am being unfair singling out the US. Its about your level of economic activity and how much you consume. Most of the developed industrial countries have similar levels of consumption. Even in the developing world, where I live, some of us consume at unsustainable levels, and I confess to be one of them.
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    Oct 18 2013: I tried hard to see your point here but when you made the comparison of the terrorist and the consumer I had this picture in my head of a guy shooting at me and blowing up the building I am in. Then I saw a picture of a guy buying a cell phone at wal mart. The after much thought I found it hard to think the cell phone buyer was a greater threat.

    Forgive me but I, like Kris, think this is a buzz word ... Scare tactics, blame, guilt ... tools of the far left. It only works if the opposition does not have the capacity to think.

    We went through all of this with the hippies in the 60's ... now they are called green people and followers of the God Gore. Didn't buy it then .... don't buy it now.

    Good luck. Bob.
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      Oct 19 2013: I think the hippies and green people were right. How on Earth have you come to the conclusion that terrorism is a bigger threat than ill-managed consumerism?

      Robert, the biggest killer in America is cholesterol. I´m talking cheddar cheese. But did we see George Bush declare war on cheddar cheese? It wouldn´t have been very scary, would it. Plunging aeroplanes into NY did the trick just fine though.

      Statistically, in America you are more likely to win the lottery than fall victim to terrorism. That´s 14 million to one.

      Meanwhile the corruption that sits behind our consumerism is devastating economies, exploiting the planet´s resources, wasting anything it touches and kills millions around the world.

      Your cell phone.... Where do you think the minerals came from to build that thing? Most of Apple's resources are sucked out of the ground in the Congo. The Congo is probably the most natural resource rich place in the world. It is pillaged by the first world. Millions of people have died across the region as a result of the chaos brought about by our governments who deliberately designed civil war so that they keep sweep in a bleed it dry.

      Kris doesn´t think that the word "consumerism" has any real meaning because he thinks that providing as much choice to the consumer as possible is the whole point of aiming for a free market economy in the first place. That´s our whole system. Consumerism is just a small part of a massive picture. It comes at a hell of a price.

      Consumerism is part of the problem. It is obviously the structure that provides us with our goods that is the big picture. Our economic and political managers are corrupt as hell and hold green technology (far more efficient technology) back, as well as keeping us in perpetual debt that is mathematically impossible to pay back. Real abundance is at our finger tips, but we are kept ignorant and distracted in the name of freedom and terrorism.
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        Oct 19 2013: Tom .... you were born to late .... you would have been a great hippie .... I still see the guy killing me because of my skin color and my religion is the greater personal threat ...

        You speak of looting, pillaging, etc .. most of that is done by governments and taken advantage of by cronies and contributors ... the one thing that all parties have in common. This could not take place without government consent both ours and theirs. The key to wealth ... buy low .. sell high. This is a congressional perk ... Nancy Polosi before casting her vote on Visa Card policy bought a large block of shares and made millions off of her vote. I consider her a greater threat to me than consumerism. Lets pass Obamacare and then we will read it .... yep she is a real threat.

        See Ya. Bob.
  • Oct 16 2013: I agree, its a huge problem. If everyone on the planet consumed at the rate of the average US citizen we would not be in trouble, we would have destroyed our planet and its ability to support us.
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      Oct 17 2013: You point is somewhat overstated. You give more to the consumption of the average American and ignore whole continents that are mostly underdeveloped.
  • Oct 16 2013: Do you think that the current problem on Earth is due to the "consumerism" but not the over-population? Of course, like Mike said there could not be 100% green energy or 100% recycling, UNLESS YOU COULD REMAKE THE HUMAN NATURE OF GREED AND SELFISHNESS. In other words, realistically your UTOPIA CONCEPT CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED WHEN EITHER WE REDUCE THE POPULATION SIZE, OR CHANGE THE DNA OF ALL THE PEOPLE, ON EARTH.
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      Oct 17 2013: Do you think that changing the DNA could change a human's behavior?
      Am I understanding you correctly?
      • Oct 17 2013: I don't promise that change of human DNA will definitely eliminate all the greed and selfishness, but do believe that substantial changes may be made to improve on such behavior.
        I also understand that certain bad behavior might even pop up when a group of mammals are pressed into extremely crowded conditions. In other words, part of the undesirable psychological effect could be modified even without the change in DNAs. Or maybe the crowding conditions are the very factors leading to the mutation in the gene/DNA to become more undesirable; detrimental to the survival of humans on earth.
        For example, do you agree about the fact that Islamic terrorists from the Mid East impose some kind of psychological pressure or mental stress on us, compared with the world situation 500 years ago? This effect of crowding seems rather subtle. However, it's more pronounced due to the tremendous development of transportation, communication and the killing power of weaponry among the people on earth in recent years.
        Whatever the word "consumerism" means to certain people, it is just the manifestation of the human behavior which, at least, is partially derived from the genes/DNAs.
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      Oct 19 2013: Scarcity is a myth. We are conned.
  • Oct 16 2013: yes, just look at the dead zones especially the pacific dead zone
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    Oct 15 2013: I try not to take sides between you two .... unless I'm asked. Since I wasn't, I'll just venture in at my own peril.
    Sorry Lejan, I got to go with Kris on this one.
    There is no consumerism or that is all there is for everything consumes something. One could make an argument that we don't need all the things we consume, that is a judgement. Granted, I am very judgmental.
    Like, I've judged that there is no such thing as 100 % green energy, or recycling. Global climate change is a natural phenomenon and it is the height of conceit to think man can effect global... anything.
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    Oct 15 2013: i really think that "consumerism" is a buzzword with no meaning