Explore the claim that a consumer society is always a ‘throw-away’ society.
In this essay I am going to explore the claim that consumer society is always a ‘throw-away’ society by firstly looking at what the definitions of consumer and throw-away societies are. Consumption is defined in The Concise Oxford Dictionary (Eighth edition, 1990) as ‘the purchase and use of goods etc.’ and consumer society as ‘a society in which the marketing of goods and services is an important social and economic activity.’ What I also need to look at is the definition of a ‘throw-away’ society, which is based around how we purchase goods both for necessary reasons (such as food and fuel) as well as unnecessary purposes (such as sweets and beauty products), and also the amount of rubbish and waste that is created by these consumers. It is also important for this essay that I look at whether or not consumer society is ‘always’ a ‘throw-away’ society, paying attention to the word ‘always’.
To start off the main part of my essay I will be looking at some of the evidence provided by the Global Footprint Network (GFN) which is based on figures recorded between the years 1961 to 2005, plus 2008. It has become apparent that in recent years, looking at the more affluent countries, people are ‘consuming at a rate that is environmentally unsustainable’. The GFN estimated in 2008 that the annual ‘global footprint’ of humanity was using up the biological capacity of 1.4 planet Earths (Making Social Lives, 2009, p. 115). So we can see from this information that although they were focusing more on the wealthier countries in their research, it shows that since 1961 and 2008 humanity’s ecological footprint has been on a constant rise. These results strongly suggest that society is becoming more focused on consuming as the years pass and we are continuously becoming more of a consumer society.
Following on from this I will now look at Michael Thompson and his book Rubbish Theory: The Creation...