On the first entry from our Free From series we talked about globalization. About how it is kind of over, how it connected the world, but also left it in danger. If you would like to read that article, click here. For today, we would love to focus on one issue that globalization left us with: Consumerism and a possible solution to it.

Consuming is not bad, it is even necessary, we need to consume food and water, basic resources that help us live. We also need access to technology and other tools that help us grow and stay connected. This is all fine, however, with the rise of advertisement and psychology, manipulation over our needs has become a way to make of consumption = consumerism.

Very often, through advertisement, we are sold the idea of a perfect home with the newest appliance, or a happy family eating very expensive food, or the classic example of a “beautiful woman” selling cars. As you can see, advertisement very often uses the strategy of connecting feelings or desires with products.

With the rise of psychology in the XX century, we finally had a science that helped us understand ourselves and our societies better. However, institutions with a lot of power (like governments) saw the great benefits of understanding how our minds work (If you would like to know more about examples of this, a great British television documentary series called The Century of the Self is our recommendation). So, if governments took advantage of psychology, advertisers made of it their profession, using psychology to sell us stuff. And this idea spread around the world thanks to globalization.

That is the part that’s not ok, we should not be manipulated through our desires or feelings. Many ads want us to believe that if we buy that expensive food, our family would be happy. But that isn’t true, a happy family takes a lot of work and sometimes families are not happy, and that’s ok. Here is where psychology helps us understand that sometimes it is ok that we have issues with our families, and that buying the most expensive food will not fix any family quarrel.

The idea of manipulating our feelings to make us buy more than we need is still behind consumerism, behind many companies and advertisers. Therefore, we must pay attention to how we feel when we buy; and here is a tip or the possible solution to consumerism that we talked about.

A possible solution to consumerism: a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism has become a buzzword where sometimes it just means an aesthetic, but the origin of minimalism relies on a lifestyle where you truly identify what gives value to your life and what does not. It is about getting more in touch with the pleasures that actually mean something to you. If you have never heard of minimalism, we recommend you to check Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things or Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

What we find great about minimalism is that, although it shows the consumers’ responsibility it does not blame them. A minimalist lifestyle respects the fact that people want things in their lives; for example, if you are passionate about music and love your vinyl collection, of course you should buy, keep and continue enjoying them! The troubling issue is that we sometimes forget which and why objects give us happiness and end up buying something because of the wrong feeling. What is the point of buying something you do not love? So, a minimalist tip would be, if you don’t love it don’t buy it.

Alongside to a purchase bringing us happiness there is an important layer: the background of the object. We encourage empathy in case any person gets hurt in the process of making an object we want to buy. Therefore, it is important to search how this object was made and hopefully realize that the person who made it is also happy making it. Let’s not forget to think about the behind the scenes of our purchases.

We know that sometimes it can be overwhelming to search for ways to be a more conscious or sustainable buyer. When you google those terms there is so much information, that it is difficult to find a clear route to become one.  But the important thing is that you are making an effort to explore or improve and we are here to help you. With this and more content we hope to give you information and a store that you can trust. We are a small shop that believes in minimalism, that is not trying to manipulate you and that works on trading fairly so that everyone in the supply chain is happy. Because after globalization, we have more access to information, are more conscious and united enough to make choices that have better impact in the rest of the world.

Let’s achieve a better world! 🙂
Thanks for reading ^.^