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Consumerism is the act of promoting or protecting the interest of the consumers. Consumerism has been an issue that affects most people and has a big impact on the economy of the country. Big companies are most of the time the cause of problems for many people. A few years back, anyone would have the ability to sit down at peace and enjoy the sunshine. Anyone had the ability to leave their house and take the bus to the destination they wished or had the ability to rent a car just for the occasional traveling or for a small purpose rather than buying a car and incurring so many bills ranging from fuelling to taxation prices which tend to be on the higher side(Robb n.p).
Effects of Consumerism
Misuse of Land
Consumerism has had a big effect on people around the globe and some of the effects are negative. One effect of consumerism is the misuse of land. The use of land either for commercial or industrial purposes can have vast impacts on sustainability as well as the environment. Since modern agribusiness is utilizing more monocultures, as opposed to crop diversity, the loss of biodiversity is prompting more utilization of resources. This and additionally other political circumstances, for example, the motives behind the dumping surplus sustenance on to third world nations to undersell the farmers at the local level, prompts additional hunger globally. Utilization designs in wealthier nations expand interest for different sustenance, textiles, flowers, and coffee among other products. This combined with more unsafe items, for example, tobacco and illegal medications, and with the intensive input of horticultural practices, which consolidates the utilization of chemicals, redirection of land notwithstanding its abuse and the related natural harm in unsustainable strategies includes.
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The need of consuming more and more resources beyond the limit required will definitely have an impact on the environment in a couple of different ways. The first way it will affect small towns and big cities will actually be the first casualties because when more people move into the towns and cities, levels of water pollution increase. A lot of the towns and cities do not have enough or adequate sewage systems that are required for high populations and increasing population(Hermann 34). Lack of all these basic needs and requirements in the cities is more or less often a result of corruption, insufficient funds or bad planning of the resources. Forgetting the reasons for immigrants migrating into the towns, these environments expose them to some health problems. Another way it has impacted the towns is air pollution due to the towns being highly concentrated by people.
Pollution of the air occurs when the levels of activity done by people are increased thus emitting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. The burning of coal, use of heat or using oil as a source of power for machines are some of the ways human activities emit greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. The moment these glasses are released into the atmosphere, they have a negative impact towards the environment and are also one source of health hazards(Hermann 34). In a lot of third world countries, the gasses being produced by machines are the main reason for almost 1.6 million deaths because they die due to issues related to respiratory systems. This means that the people or consumers living in populated areas are susceptible a lot as they are exposed to this pollution and gasses every single day. Another problem highly facing consumerism and related to the environment is noise pollution(Payne 139). With the demands of goods and services increasing rapidly, the uprising of firms is encouraged. People who want to improve their living standards go out and purchase new cars. In the past few years, a lot of developing countries have been getting increased levels of automobiles or cars which are as a result of increased levels of investment in those countries. Because of the increase in cars and the growth of manufacturing machines the rate of noise pollution has increased rapidly(DeFrancesco n.p). It is quite clear that governments in developing countries are not able to come up with adequate and sufficient methods and policies to ensure that pollution is contained and to maintain a clean environment.
Possible Solutions to the Issue of Consumerism
The objective of understanding the effects of consumerism and the root cause of these effects between Asia and the U.S is to be able to come up with suitable solutions. These solutions will look at how America exercises its political power to make sure that it addresses the injuries it has caused to the Asian nations with regards to human rights and economic motivation(DeFrancescon.p). One consideration is that the majority of the Asian countries would prefer the smaller profits that have accrued. These profits come from the hard work carried out in the sweatshops, and at times, the meager profits end up not sustaining the sustenance of the workers. In the long run, death and starvation are experienced.
Providing Better Conditions to the Employees
One possible solution to the issue of consumerism is the provision of better working conditions to the employees working in these sweatshops. The main objection surrounding sweatshops is the fact that employees require better conditions at work to boost productivity(DeFrancesco n.p). These laborers demand such an environment but it is not fair why they are not provided with their demands as well as their labor compensation. It is not fair that the sweatshop workers suffer under the horrendous conditions while the corporate owners of these ventures cannot condone a similar environment(Johnson 82). Putting into consideration the entrenched inequalities that exist between America and Asian countries that are on the verge of development, there has been a progressive decline in working conditions over time especially in developing Asian countries. The people in Asia are much worse when compared to individuals in America even when there are regulations that do not support sweatshop labor(Robb n.p). Therefore, one can conclude that sweatshop labor is an element brought about due to the relations between the U.S and Asia, and this relationship is more a disadvantage that is progressive and it affects the latter. The only acceptable discourse would be to maximize the net benefits that have accumulated(Calder 111). These accrued benefits should be directed to the less disadvantaged people within the developing Asian countries. Consequently, the relations between the U.S and Asia should pay more consideration to the workers who earn low wages. It should also have policies that are geared towards improving the working conditions in the facilities where these people work to eventually eliminate their prevalent exploitation.
Similarly, the existing harsh realities based on the existing economic background indicate a more complex situation. Regardless of the fact employees in third world nations are in dire need of assistance that these sweatshops are capable of providing, they cannot justify the partial obligation that lies on the part of the sweatshops or the business organizations (Johnson 79). These obligations do not put into consideration the shifts of the burden that result in higher wages as well as the working conditions for the workers. In case an American company incurs high costs of production, there will emerge few economic initiatives for these organizations to initiate manufacturing projects in the developing countries in Asia. The companies, as well as the workers, suffer but the rate of suffering is mostly felt by the workers who earn low wages.
Improving the relationship between sweatshops and Asian-American
The relationship between the governments of Asian countries and America form the foundation for any economic dealing between the two nations. Also, the same relationship aims at addressing the potential challenges as well as the ethical issues that curb labor in the sweatshops(Johnson 81). From a wider perspective, the biggest ethical challenge that faces the relations between America and Asian countries is that of having conclusive negotiations to determine the moral obligations thus rendering them incompatible(Robb n.p). One example of confrontations based on government tradeoffs is evident in the case of sweatshop labor. Here, both short and long term interests of the parties concerned become compromised. Countries in Asia have a strong urge of attracting foreign investment from developed nations, for example, America to accelerate their economic development and improve the livelihoods of their citizens. Based on this aim, these countries have engaged in the liberalization of their government policies to ensure their investments are secured(Guthrie-Shimizu 78). Despite the governmental efforts, sweatshop labor is encouraged thereby forcing the developing nations to bear the responsibility for supporting the violation of human rights. On the other hand, banning these sweatshops will be a negative long-term economic approach since the developing countries will end up having a crippling economy.
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Consumerism is a vital topic, which has pulled in a ton of oral conflict over the past century. There are different analyses by various researchers to try and explain the issue to provide them with an understanding of worldwide purchasers and their attitudes towards the subject. Notwithstanding, the studies, as well as discussions on consumerism, has been one-sided as it neglects to consolidate the advancements in developing economies. These economies are encountering a fast development of consumerism and any form of research carried out needs to guarantee that it consolidates materials from the previously mentioned nations. It is also apparent from the research that the impacts of consumerism on nature are colossal.It is clear that the lifestyles of consumers are in charge of the outflow of greenhouse gasses to the earth. Additionally, consumerism has contributed towards the poor working conditions in these developing nations, especially those nations in Asia. It has led to over exploitation of the workers in these nations due to their poor economic background. Sweatshop labor is a violation of human rights and it has been practiced by the developing Asian countries at the expense of the American corporations.
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- Payne, Richard K., ed. How much is enough?: Buddhism, consumerism, and the human environment. Simon and Schuster, 2010.
- Robb, Robert. “There Is No Practical Alternative to Free Trade.” Arizona Republic, 24 Apr. 2014.