Consumerism as a force for social change

We are often told that we live in a consumer society and of course this is true.

Global enterprises spend fortunes persuading us to spend, acquire, consume. We are encouraged to think of our homes as investments, assets, status symbols but rarely as their real purpose, as shelters.

And we appear to be powerless in the face of these global forces. Indeed we are encouraged to believe that we are powerless. When banks overcharge, when utilty companies post massive profits, when senior executives draw huge salaries and award themselves enormous bonuses we shrug as there is nothing we can do to prevent this greed and excess.

My contention is that we can make a difference as actually by creating a consumer society the corporations have actually ceded power to us, the consumers. All we have to do is exercise it.

Think about it. The consumer society. That is what our modern world is called. Not the RBS society or the Tesco society or the British Gas society. They are all, for sure, big players in the global economy but it is a consumer society and me, you, friends, family, colleagues are all consumers. There are billions of us.

What if we decide NOT to consume? Or, since we can’t all immediately become self-sufficient in food and fuel, what if we all agree to take more care about HOW we consume. Rather than complaining about the bonuses that bank executives receive despite their presiding over the near collapse of the global financial system just move your money. If your local high street has become full of boarded up shops since the new superstore opened on the outskirts of the town it is you who can make a difference by not shopping there!

When considering the massive companies, know this. It is your money that they want. Your money pays salaries, bonuses and dividends. It is your money. You decide how you spend it. If you decide to remain with, for example, RBS you are tacitly agreeing to the way that business is run – from interest rate fixing, insurance mis-selling and executive pay.

So move your money, shop in your local high street, buy local seasonal food. There are millions of us and we CAN make a difference

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