Showing posts with label consumerism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label consumerism. Show all posts

Thursday, December 11, 2008

the true xmas spirit

From the BBC
Excessive spending at Christmas can result in people experiencing a miserable time afterwards when debts have to be repaid .There is a feeling of uncomfortable tension derived from experiencing conflicting thoughts - "Can I really afford this?" - and the need to satisfy one's generosity - "It will really make someone happier at Christmas if I buy it".

This feeling of uncomfortable tension as a result of conflicting thoughts and actions has been explained as "cognitive dissonance" by psychologists.
This is particularly relevant in festive shopping when personal finances are being stretched.
At Christmas, people are challenged with what can be considered to be a moral form of cognitive dissonance, when people are torn between balancing their finances and the wish to make others and themselves happier - which is the societal expectation of what Christmas is really all about.
Knowing they may well not be able to afford what they are buying, people enter into transactions encouraged by heavy marketing influences. And they will try to reduce their internal psychological conflict in order to justify their actions.
They will explain that their happiness and that of others is more important than their debt, that others cannot do without when people around them are receiving and being happy and that, above all, Christmas is a time for giving and sharing and the spirit of Christmas should be encouraged in a time of nationwide gloom. Such actions are typical responses when people are experiencing dissonance. Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something against that belief. If I believe I am good - managing my finances to reduce debt - but do something bad - spend freely at Christmas - then the discomfort I feel as a result is cognitive dissonance. The resultant effect can be extremely negative in the long term when the reality of the dissonance is exposed.

Those people who enter into a festive spending spree knowing they really are stretched financially display an inability to rationalise and explain away the conflict. In some ways they go into denial and may wish to ignore the issue until a later date, but pay heavy personal consequences.
It's a Christmas bubble - and bubbles burst.
If people do lose control of their spending and shop in denial there can be a massive loss of confidence and self-esteem. People can even slip into a mild or chronic depression due to the negative financial consequences and loss of self respect. Once people wake up from their denial, especially if they don't have a support network and feel isolated, they can become very low psychologically and emotionally. People can end up with problems in other areas of their lives, like relationships and work. And in January or February when the bills come in, those people who wanted to know them when they were being generous at Christmas won't be around any more, and they will be left to sort things out on their own

Saturday, March 22, 2008

spoiled kids or a spoiled world

The media will no doubt concentrate the headlines on over-indulgent parents , the liberal minded permissive mum and dad who won't instill a sense of discipline in their kids but for those of us who seek deeper understanding other parts of the report come to our attention . The problem lay with parents who were struggling with little or no help to bring up their children in a heavily commercialised world.

The report urged the government to tackle the commercialisation of culture head-on.

Research author Maurice Galeton said: "It is particularly acute where people are living in violent neighbourhoods. ..Very young parents in violent and deprived neighbourhoods without the network of support that others get ... have a huge level of stress in their lives."

Schools indeed reflect society in general .

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Most adults in the UK believe that children's well-being is being damaged because childhood has become too commercial, a lifestyle poll has found. The children's market is worth an estimated £30 billion a year.

The Children's Society said adults had to "take responsibility for the current level of marketing to children...To accuse children of being materialistic in such a culture is a cop-out," said the chief executive of the society. "Unless we question our own behaviour as a society we risk creating a generation who are left unfulfilled through chasing unattainable lifestyles."

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is patron of the inquiry, said: "Children should be encouraged to value themselves for who they are as people rather than what they own. The selling of lifestyles to children creates a culture of material competitiveness and promotes acquisitive individualism at the expense of the principles of community and co-operation." [ The capitalist press certainly aren't making this remark by the Archbishop front page headline news as they did with his Sharia law comment , are they ?]

One member of the childhood inquiry panel has warned that the commercial pressures on youngsters may have damaging psychological effects. Professor Philip Graham, Emeritus Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Institute of Child Health in London, said:
"One factor that may be leading to rising mental health problems is the increasing degree to which children and young people are preoccupied with possessions; the latest in fashionable clothes and electronic equipment. Evidence both from from the United States and from the UK suggests that those most influenced by commercial pressures also show higher rates of mental health problems," .

The Good Childhood report found:
"Advertising to children was ruthless and exploitative and they should not be viewed as small consumers, particularly for younger children with impressionable minds."