Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Self-indulgent consumerism
Overemphasis on the consumer role
Diverted consumer spending

In wealthier countries, replacement purchases for clothes, entertainment products, automobiles and home-furnishings are made with a frequency that is not justified by the wear of these products. It is the profligacy of a self-indulgent consumerist ethic that is responsible for the excessively high retail turnover. Although it may be argued that this creates jobs, it nevertheless depletes resources, and may also indicate an imbalance of wealth in a society where there are people starving or being denied essential social services, while at the same time department stores are registering record sales. This ethic leads to self-indulgence and a cheapening of human values.

The average individual is most often addressed not as a citizen, a worker, a thinker, or any of his other roles, but as a consumer. This eventually becomes the role in which the individual sees himself most clearly. This image of being a consumer limits the ability to relate to others in appreciation, friendship or even, finally, mutual respect.


The emphasis on consumer materialism is at the expense of the spiritual life of the individual: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God".

Counter Claim:

Abundance and choice provide a feeling of security, social and even spiritual comfort.


Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Date of last update
20.05.2019 – 15:21 CEST