With the development of mass production and the invention of the conveyor the goods that had been accessible only to rich men, began to be consumed and simple inhabitants. From the beginning of XX century consumerism as the phenomenon which had been prospering earlier only in the upper class, has captured almost all levels of population of the civilized world.
Occurrence of the consumerism is quite natural, it was the adequate answer of requirements of people and well-being and comfort on expansion of possibilities to achieve it. Consumption as a result has lost the basic function - it has ceased to be means for continuation of ability to live of live organisms.
"The attitude inherent in consumerism is that of swallowing the whole world. Modern consumers may identify themselves by the formula: I am = what I have and what I consume", - Erich Fromm wrote. Consumerism is not a functional exchange of money for the goods for the sake of its utility, and an exchange symbolical. A large quantity of far-fetched requirements (from an electric tooth-brush to the machine for a wave of eyelashes), to satisfy which us offer various companies, surround us and seem us so natural, as well as daily morning coffee. We surround ourselves with things the unique advantage from which is possibility to possess them.
The aspiration to possession, to some extent, is characteristic for any person (however, as well as for other live beings at which it is shown in other forms). It is possible to tell that it is caused by difference of the subject from objects. In turn, on it, the nature the caused aspiration all economic life of mankind (and its basis - a property phenomenon) is based. In the middle of the XIX century the given problem was analyzed by M. Stirner, having paid steadfast attention and to its psychological aspects, and after E. Fromm has come to a conclusion about fundamental character of the contradiction between “to have” and “to be".
And nevertheless, despite all value which can have for the concrete subject possession (possession) of those or other objects and things, behind it there is at all the requirements for them, and requirement for having guarantees of constant realization of this or that function. It is possible to name it requirement for confidence. Any aspiration to possession is caused by presence of the factor of time: to possess, means to guarantee to itself definiteness in the future. The unaccountable fear before time forces the person to create round itself the world of things which always will be with it which will provide to it a continuous communication between requirements and the objects possessing necessary properties. It allows to destroy alarm, fear and to get calmness, confidence.
Possession of the goods for people became a factor of independence. Principle sounds like “There is no difference how property was reached, and how I am going to use it, and nobody cares till I am acting in terms of law, my rights on property aren’t limited”. On the other hand, reaching false independence from other people, everybody is getting influenced by goods. This thing was mentioned by Jean-Paul Sartre when he wrote: ”Goods are created only to be unused”. And Franz Kafka thought that: ”First idolatry was a fear of things, and in connection with this fear of need of thing and fear of responsibility of things”.
For an individual not qualities of goods, that cause them to be useful, become important, but the fact of owning that goods. For example, man buys sport car and moving on it to workplace with a speed 60 km/h, he didn’t use its functional abilities, but that car is a part of man’s image, that represent his lifestyle and social place.
The most general part of consumerism is a sleekness of answer to the question “Who I am?”. City life, job and other parts of life are creating big problem with human’s identity and goods that are consumed is a trying to solve this problem.