From fashion and beauty to tech and wellness, entire industries and marketing strategies are built to capitalize on this insecurity. The purpose of advertising is to harness human desire, and convince the target that they need the product. Digital marketing experts estimate that the average American is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads on any given day.
“The consumption-driven mind-set masquerades as ‘quality of life’ but eats us from within. It is as if we’ve been invited to a feast, but the table is laid with food that nourishes only emptiness, the black hole of the stomach that never fills.”
-Robin Wall Kimmerer
Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.
David Cain, Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed
From single-use plastics to clothing, we have been accustomed to disposing things without much consideration. Hyper-consumerism and the mass production of low quality unsustainable goods influenced this waste culture. It's led by various industries including fashion which is at the forefront of impulsive shopping behaviours and overconsumption. We have normalized this carefree mentality where we don’t truly recognize the labour process and appreciate the craftsmanship of the things we buy. We’re unaware or we avoid confronting the dark reality of where, but also who the makers are throughout the supply chains, how it’s produced and what happens after we get rid of it.