To analyze and explain the significance of something, you must first define it. Consumerism is “advocacy of a high rate of consumption and spending as a basis for a sound economy”. Consumerism plays an enormous role in Brave New World. It gives us a small view of what a different type of economy we might have. People are solely dependent on the things that the world state provides for them. There is much significance to consumerism in BNW, and through an analytical view of it, we find many similarities between consumerism in BNW and in our world today.
In this novel the use of consumerism is prominent. Every person is provided for so that they do not have to worry about anything. In the US we constantly use our available resources even when it is not truly needed. A simple example would be, buying too much food at the grocery store, and most of it going to waste in about a weeks time. All the branches of society in BNW indulge in overconsumption just as we do, but it the Alpha group that really shows us this.
Alphas show us this in many ways, often through the use of a drug. The best item in this society to get your hands on is soma. It is the most widely used and distributed item, it is used to keep individuals happy. From an example in the book, many of the castes are paid for their work with soma. Soma keeps the population under control, they take it when they do not feel “normal”, the drug keeps them from thinking unusually, thinking as an individual.
The general public in BNW is encouraged to use public transportation, often to entertain themselves, to visit one of the reservations, or to play a game, such as Obstacle Golf, another example of consumerism in BNW, because it costs money to play. Or even to spectate, the population would still have to pay for transportation to watch. In our world today we also use public transportation, but it is not the only means of transportation. The public
consumerism regarding entertainment in the form of games, such as golf, not a cheap sport but one we indulge ourselves in for amusement.
Another example of how consumerism in BNW relates to us, is how the population in BNW are raised to use products provided by the World State, and dispose of them and continue to get more, and provide more money to the economy, therefore keeping the world at a constant steady state. This may sound very familiar, where products in our society become faulty overtime, some may say it is planned obsolescence, where maybe it isn’t completely broken and you cant fix it, maybe it is just so outdated it cannot keep up anymore. So we as individuals are forced to toss the product and purchase a new one.
Our society has many examples of consumerism. Individuals with more money to spend often overindulge or spend it on unneeded things for our pleasure. We buy televisions, video games, extra clothing, more than one of a similar item, like a person having three different iPods. Sporting events have a huge impact on our economy as well. Millions of people in the US turn out to attend or watch on TV football during the regular season and the post season. We spend a lot of money of medicine and drugs. If one were to look into a persons medicine cabinet at home, it would be likely to find lots of pills and drugs for different uses that are defiantly not cheap, that are rarely used. Also a small minority of Americans in relation to the whole country, spend money on illegal drugs. Alcohol is also another product many Americans spend their money on that is an example of consumerism.
Most individuals in our world today have given in to some form of consumerism. Unfortunately the peoples in BNW are trained and pretty much forced to give into consumerism. And if our world continues to overindulge we soon could also turn into a milder form of the society in this novel. But first we have to realize and start to conserve our valuable resources, so that we don’t have to depend upon our government for necessities.
Courtney from Study Moose
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