Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Rise of Consumerism

Consumerism plays a dominant role in today’s societies, wherein, one of the main goals is to make money, by whatever means possible and exploiting whichever potential flaw that might exist. The human race is one with the wildest imagination, and this imagination, though a great strength at certain times, can, like all great strengths, serve as a potential weakness. It is our imaginations that is exploited by advertising, and it is our imaginations that religion and myth traditionally played the role of satiating through stories with morals to them and lessons to be learned. Now consumerism has replaced this role.
In today’s world the consumer ideology serves as the golden rule, advertising serves as discourses, products serve as our idolatry, and just as religion instils faith at an early age, the same is done by consumerism. Consumerism stimulates our imaginations. It does this by telling us a story, wherein we are the main character, enjoying a better life with the products being sold to us. Our imaginations are conquered by these stories. We like believing them because they make sense of the world. We start believing that all it takes to be happier is to take a trip to the store. For instance, almost all the cigarette ads feature a picture of an ideal person smoking his brand. The ads seem to say that we can also be like them if we start smoking. All it takes is a trip to the store and a couple of bucks for a packet. 
Similar to the myths, the stories told by these ads have a moral to them. The lesson they teach is that our life can be better with these products or we can be a better person with these products. This is the consumer ideology and, just like every religion has some ‘golden rules’ that encompasses all of its lessons. All of its lessons seem to be based upon this underlying assumption that more is better, that we need the things we're being sold, and that somehow buying them will make us happier and better people. 
Of course the medium for these lessons are the ads themselves. Advertising nearly always has some emotional attraction attached to them. Instead of conforming to our intellect and giving us rational reasons why we should consume the products they boast, and mostly they cater to our emotions.
One heavy emotion that we are vulnerable to is fear. Fear tactics are widely used in advertising. For example, different ads highlight the losses and the disadvantages a person may have if he does not use the products being advertised.
Just as advertising appeals to the emotion of fear, it also appeals to the emotion of hope. This can be seen in many of the commercials. They show deeds of great philanthropy and they ensure us that there is still hope that things are not as bad as they seem, although they also seem to claim that they are, in some way or the other, the cause of it all.
There are hundreds of stimuli which provoke reactions that are induced by advertising. From before we can speak, we experience constant, repeated, product-oriented stimulation coming in from all five senses. Many companies base their entire advertising on the enticement of children. Some of the first words many children speak are from advertising jingles. All of the toy companies and most of the fast food restaurants have multi-million campaigns aimed at children. It is not even children that do the purchasing, it is the parents, and these companies are cashing in on the parents' love for their children, as well as the prone minds of the children. 
Mostly children are found shouting for certain products in different shops and shopping malls, it is because their minds are already stimulated towards those products through advertising. The important factor in this regard is not the possible outcomes of the use of the toys by the children but the rising sales of the companies.

It seems consumerism shares with religion many more of the bad characteristics than the good ones. Consumerism takes advantage of innocent minds much more than religion does. Also, religion serves many good purposes, such as teaching charity and love whereas consumerism tends to only teach greed and fear. Even good ads are stained with the greedy aims of the company.