Why Do We Consume So Much? Critical Thinking Sample

Type of paper: Critical Thinking

Topic: Consumer Economy, Consumerism, World, Earth, Deontology, Kant, Utilitarianism, Immanuel Kant

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/02/14

Economist Juliet B. Schor argues that there are a number of reasons that Americans consume so much. She goes to great lengths to ensure the reader understands exactly what she is talking about. Schor defines the group she is speaking about as the middle class and above and the type of consumerism as buying beyond what one truly needs to survive. She then provides her ideas as to what is driving this consumerism. Schor believes the elements that are driving consumerism are the fact that we are locked into a “cycle of work and spend”, we have failed to value the earth’s capital and consuming has become a means to social esteem and belonging. She explains that excessive consumerism is harmful to both the earth and humans. It leads us to pillaging the earth and destroying an unnecessarily high number of resources and caring more about stuff than about other people, including those in poverty and need. Schor argues that we need to stop consuming so much and start respecting the earth, all humans and finding ways to meet all human needs. The ethical theories of Kant’s deontology and Utilitarianism support Schor’s argument against excessive consumerism.
Kant developed deontology based on the theory that to be moral we must act in ways that are in alignment with a set of principles and rules regardless of how the choices we make impact our lives. We should not lie even if lying would result in a better set of circumstances for our external lives. Schor’s argument against excessive consumerism is supported by deontology in that the principles of treating others and the earth with respect trump the hedonistic pleasure received from buying more and more and more. It may feel good to own the newest cell phone but the knowledge that some of the parts that went into making that cell phone were procured from the conflict trade, mining that harms the earth and is for all intents and purposes slavery, may make a difference to the buyer. Both Kant and Schor would argue that the ethical thing to do would be to forego the cell phone in the name of the higher good for human kind and the earth. Another example of how deontology supports Schor’s argument is the notion that we could all benefit from spending our extra money helping those less fortunate than us rather than on a far too expensive car. Kant would say that the principle of helping our fellow man is the right thing to do even if it means we drive a less luxurious car. Schor would say that our resources are better used by providing other humans a higher quality of life than on fancy modes of transportation, in essence these arguments are the same. The theory of Utilitarianism also supports the points Schor makes.
Utilitarianism differs from deontology in that it is flexible where Kant’s theory is rigid. It isn’t set on doing something regardless of the outcome, it is instead focused entirely on the outcome. The best outcome in Utilitarianism is the one that benefits the most people. Using that foundation, it is clear that cutting back on excessive consumerism helps the most people. It leaves the earth healthier for future generations and it affords those with less the opportunity to have more. I agree with Schor’s argument, I think we would all be better off cutting back on our excessive consumerism. I don’t agree with her based on deontology, my personal belief system is not based on making decisions based on principle, I agree with her based more on Utilitarianism. I want to do what is best for the most people and if supporting the reduction of excessive consumerism will help the most people I am on board. I also agree that there is more to life than stuff, I think relationships are better when our focus is more on each other and less on buying the newest thing. I also think it is better to work less and have more down time, to do that we must cut back on excessive consumerism.

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WePapers. (2021, February, 14) Why Do We Consume So Much? Critical Thinking Sample. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/why-do-we-consume-so-much-critical-thinking-sample/
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"Why Do We Consume So Much? Critical Thinking Sample." WePapers, Feb 14, 2021. Accessed February 22, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/why-do-we-consume-so-much-critical-thinking-sample/
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"Why Do We Consume So Much? Critical Thinking Sample," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 14-Feb-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/why-do-we-consume-so-much-critical-thinking-sample/. [Accessed: 22-Feb-2024].
Why Do We Consume So Much? Critical Thinking Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/why-do-we-consume-so-much-critical-thinking-sample/. Published Feb 14, 2021. Accessed February 22, 2024.

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