By Francis Forsey
In a society where mass consumption fuels day-to-day life, it is easy to become disassociated from the products we buy. UK consumer spending in the 3rd Quarter of 2018 peaked at £336,079 million, a record high since monitoring data began in 1955 (Trading Economics).
Capitalism, championed by Western states such as the UK and the US, has become the assumed norm. Francis Fukuyama referred to the post-Cold War period of rapid liberal, democratic, capitalist development as the ‘End of History’. The US has tasked itself with protecting capitalism’s market-based ideals, even going so far as to intervene militarily to protect the ‘light of liberalism’ (See: Vietnam conflict, US Intervention in Afghanistan 1979).
Whilst consumer spending is increasing, we are also beginning to see a significant rise in anti-consumerist movements in response. Year on year, more people are beginning to realise that such high levels of consumption are trapping our global population into a cycle of environmental and social degradation. Essentially, populations are realising that we are living in an environmentally unsustainable economic system.