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The anti-consumerism means the socio-political movement opposed to consumption, which criticizes the effects of a market economy on the individual.

The anti-consumerism is put in parallel with environmental anti-business activism (nature protection, animal rights, ecological consequences of economic activity) and anti-globalization movements, particularly in their condemnation of the practices of multinationals.

Many books (No Logo by Naomi Klein, released in 2000, is the best example) and movies (The Corporation (2003) Surplus (2003)) provide the public with anti-business and anti-consumerism arguments, as before them American comedian Bill Hicks or Italian intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Opposition to economic materialism has two main sources: religion and social activism. Religions oppose materialism for essentially two reasons: it interferes with the connection to the divine and leads to an immoral life style. For some social activists, war, crime and general social malaise are associated with certain aspects of materialism because it is unable to offer a reason to be healthy to human existence.


The anti-consumerism is often associated with criticisms of consumption, whether those of Karl Marx and Thorstein Veblen who, in the Theory of Leisure Class, traces the origin of consumption in early human civilizations. Consumption is also associated with economic policies such as Keynesian economics. In a more abstract sense, it refers to the idea that the free choice of consumers should dictate the economic structure of society (see productivism, particularly in the English sense).

Politics and society

The anti-entreprises activists believe that the growth of large corporations threatens the legitimate authority of nation-states and the public sphere. They feel that these companies have invaded the privacy of individuals, manipulated politicians and governments, and created unnecessary needs in consumers. Evidence that validate this belief include intrusive advertising (adware, spam, telemarketing, etc.), massive multinational contributions to democratic elections, political interference in sovereign nation states, and corporate scandals. For anti-consumerism opponents, joint-stock enterprises would not feel responsible only to their shareholders, without taking into account the rights and other factors. In practice, any philanthropic activity that directly serves the business would be considered a breach of trust ownership. This type of accountability would be consistent with a strategy of intensification, labor flexibility and cost reduction. For example, they would be encouraged to try (either directly or through sub-contractors) to find countries where labor costs are low and there are lenient laws on human rights, environment, labor organizations, etc..

Translated and adapted from Wikipedia.

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