Writing an Argumentative Essay on Consumerism: Pros and Cons

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You might have heard about the problem of consumerism many times throughout your life. People complain about it a lot, but still rush to buy a new clothing item or TV on Black Friday.

Consumerism is viewed as both the driving force of the modern economy, as well as its evil repercussion. How would you view consumerism? Here are some tips for a good argumentative essay on this topic.

Consider the Economic Implications

It is palpable that consumerism boosts the economy. The more people spend, the more income companies make which leads to their expansion, more jobs and an economic growth. Consumerism fosters businesses, thus increasing the GDP and making people’s lives more secure.

Moreover, there is a correlation between how much people spend and the cost of the products. Usually companies seek ways to lower the prices to become more competitive on the marketplace. It has its drawbacks on a global scale when people in the third world countries are forced to work for small wages. However, for a consumer it is a definite advantage.

An 18th century philosopher Bernard Mandeville made a staggering revelation in regards to consumerism. He believed that rich countries owe their wealth to it because consumerism creates jobs, grows the economy and provides a stress relief for working population. He believed that the countries had to choose between consumerism and poverty.

Adam Smith also mentioned the capacity of consumerism to generate jobs and produce a sound tax base that can later be used to ameliorate people’s life conditions. You can use all those arguments to strengthen your essay.

Consider the Moral Implications

The biggest challenge to an argument for consumerism will definitely be its moral implications. You may totally enjoy your brand new I-phone, but it is worth thinking for a moment about the fates of those workers in the poor countries who mined coltan and other minerals necessary for its functioning.

There are almost 200 countries in the world, and only a handful of them can be regarded affluent. Of course, sweatshops and horrendous work conditions are more a result of this uneven economic distribution, rather than its reasons. However, is it really justified to brutally exploit some for the happiness of others just because the world works this way?

This ubiquitous outsourcing of labor sometimes helps the developing countries as it creates jobs for their impoverished citizens. Nonetheless, the big corporations very rarely monitor conditions and safety in those factories. They deny their responsibility for the fate of their own employees. Moreover, those outsourcing companies often evade taxes, thus harming the GDP.

It is the consumerism that keeps firms on the lookout for cheap labor and rushes them to produce more without taking the morality of their actions into consideration. This will be a powerful argument for your essay.

The Invisible Consequences

It is not only the third world countries which are affected. People from wealthy economies often deal with stress, envy and dissatisfaction – the invisible consequences of consumerism.

Some may label those the first world problems, but it is crucial to ruminate upon them, as sooner or later there will be no first world, but one united planet. Even though some developing countries advance at a very slow pace, at one point they will catch up, and will realize the predicament of their more successful neighbors.

The more people buy, the more they have to work to satiate their ever-growing desires. Very often they would take out loans that trap them in jobs they don’t enjoy and prevent them from pursuing their dreams. Things cannot make one happy; they are the distracting factors that steer humanity off its course.

Consumerism forces people to compare themselves with their neighbors or media personalities, triggering envy and dissatisfaction with status quo. It diminishes the quality of their lives and blurs their vision. This is a potent argument to avoid consumerism.

The Environmental Outcome

The effect on the environment has been truly pathetic. People carry on the planet’s depletion to cultivate wealth and satisfy their momentarily desires. However, the emissions threshold has long been crossed, and the planet finds itself in a grave danger.

It is a fine line to walk here, as it is going to be catastrophic for the economy to stop consumerism altogether, but it is critical to knock it down a notch for the sake of our own safety. Unfortunately, very often it is almost impossible to monitor the companies’ carbon footprint, as they outsource the factories to those countries which do not have strict regulations on environmental matters and suffer from a rampant corruption.

The Conclusion

In the conclusion you need to reiterate your thesis, however, also making an emotional appeal to the audience. I have provided you with the most significant arguments for and against consumerism, and it is up for you to decide which standpoint you find most appealing.

In an argumentative essay, however, you need to evaluate objections as well as your arguments. It will preclude unnecessary questions and make your essay look stronger and more professional. 

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