1)What is consumerism and how does it differ between More Economically Developed Countries, Less Economically Developed Countries and Newly Developing Countries?
In order to answer this question, I will create a worldwide map of the development process of Nokia’s phones (one of the leading mobile phone manufactures) and to understand the different roles that different countries have on the manufacture of mobile phones. Furthermore I will look at sources on graphs and images which have information on consumerism in order to help me gain a better understanding of consumerism.
2)How do mobile phones affect people differently in MEDCs, LEDCs and Developing Countries?
In order to answer this question, I will be starting to look at three different countries which are The United Kingdom (MEDC), Democratic Republic of Congo (LEDC), and China (Newly Developing Countries). I will also be evaluating the positives, negatives and the overview of sustainability of phone on differently developed counties.
3)To explain the sustainable impacts of mobile phones on people in the environment.
For this question, I will be looking at places around the world to help create a more sustainable future and also evaluate these ideas to help get a better understanding about the impacts of mobile phones in our environment.
How the mobile phone industry may have a positive or negative impact on different groups of people.
What is consumerism?
Consumerism dictionary definition: “The protection or promotion of the interests of consumers” or “The preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods” But who do we call a consumer? Consume basically means to use things up, either by eating them, wearing them or playing with them and otherwise using them to satisfy one’s desires and needs. For example a teenager might buy the latest clothes or technology so it‘s based on fashion and popularity, whilst a mother of three would buy her children essential stuff based on their lifestyle. It’s about taking everything that can be taken, consuming everything that can be consumed.
What does the cartoon show?
The cartoon is showing a man telling his wife that he bought something. The wife is thrilled because in our Consumerist society buying something helps the economy and she is happy because of that. She is also happy because buying things in our society is normal and we live life in excess. The cartoonist is showing that we buy things so much and we are always happy about it. Never looking at the consequences or at what we could be doing with our money like helping people who are less fortunate.
The cartoon really shows the dangers of Consumerism. It shows a lady telling another lady that she bought a big, crazy machine she will never need just because it was on sale and the store was running out. The cartoonist is trying to show that people buy things even if they do not need them, like the lady in the cartoon is doing. This shows the biggest problem of Consumerism. Consumerism is buying useless things that you do not need in the excess, this is exactly what this cartoon is showing.
How and why does consumer choice differ for MEDCs and LEDCs?
Rich countries (MEDC) – Disposable income; better jobs; higher wages; and their families are smaller and can afford luxuries. (Examples of people are in the United Kingdom) Poor countries (LEDC) – Necessity; there are fewer skilled jobs, lower wages so they do not have a disposable income; and have big families. (Examples of people are in the Democratic Republic of Congo)
This shows how different consumerism is in LEDCs and MEDCs. In MEDCs, people are addicted to shopping as the shopping figures are increasing. Whilst in the LEDC there have no disposable income so they are no addiction to shopping and they are looking for desperate money to feed their big, poor family. This is because Companies in LEDC countries (like Democratic Republic of Congo) give out very small amount of wages to their employees. They also have to work very long hours, and there’s restricted time off for them. In addition the general public in MEDCs buys for latest fashion and brands however in LEDCs they buy whatever is cheap. Money may be important to them however, they’ll steal and buy many cheap items from shops; as they have no other choice due to the situation those big MEDC companies have in them. (Like Nokia)
What are your views towards consumerism and why?
Personally I think Consumerism is sometimes unnecessary. Buying stuff can help the economy but a lot of the time people are in greater need of water then you are in need of the new designer shoes. Goods can go to people who really need it. For example in the world right now people are dying in Africa or Asia. That money you spend on one item can be given to people in need
I have seen the advantages and the disadvantages of Consumerism. Consumerism causes countries like Great Britain to have consumer driven economies. Consumers are always driven to buy the latest thing and that should not decide the economy. Consumers are spending so much useless money on so many useless things. The economy should be based on something more substantial. Citizens need to think if they need that latte from Starbucks every day or if they can go without. They need to choose to stick with their perfectly good pair of £20 Reebok trainers instead of buying the new Nike or Adidas £70 pair. If citizens stop buying useless things so often then the problem of Consumerism will be solved.
Should we carry on the way we are shopping today?
No, we should save money in-case you later require it or you go abroad e.t.c. You could save a lot by not buying things you don’t require or need and you’d probably need it later in life and you later reaction will be “why didn’t I save that money, I really needn’t that money and so on. The way we shop today is we buy things that we need and if we have money left over, we occasionally spend money on things that are on special offers which is basically economically unsustainable because it’s wasting money. We can make our habits more sustainable by buying things we need and save the money that is left .We should make a list of things that we are going to buy in a period ( 1 day ,1 week ,e.g..) and only buy the things we need that is on the list. That could save us a lot of money; time and you could buy more things the next period. Companies can improve sustainability by buying local or buying off fair trade farmers.
What are the current trends in mobile phone ownership?
This source suggests that the number of mobile phone subscribers surpassed the 3 billion mark – close to 50 percent of the world’s population – in August 2007. Mobile growth rates have been high across almost all regions and the number of subscribers has grown between 20 to 30 percent globally since 2000, when they stood at 12 percent. During 2006 alone, Africa added over 60 million mobile phone subscribers to its subscriber base. The growth of phones have changed so rapidly due in Africa it‘s cheap and used for business, transferring money, contacting the doctor and many more.
This source is a proportional graph comparing Smartphone’s to non Smartphone’s. From my knowledge, Africa is currently the second biggest market for mobile phone in the world to access to information (internet), contacting a doctor, ability to transfer money, creating jobs for the more than 500 million handset owners on the continent, half of the population of Africa. The prediction usage of Smart phones is going to multiply by five in 2015. Furthermore this image can suggest the value they place on the mobile phones; this is because mobile phones are the key to making business in Africa especially in countries like Nigeria, Congo, and Kenya. It also shows an overview of Smart phone vs. non-Smart phone’s in Africa.
United Kingdom- Europe
Positive Human Effects:
The positive human effects are that jobs are available in larger companies, in smaller companies and any type of job for any other company involved in the distribution in pre-owned mobile phones. Furthermore, jobs are also available for any people involved in repairing and recycling phones. From this we can come up with a conclusion that mobile phones industry in the UK are sustainable as it offers thousands of jobs from all types of specialists. This has positive impact on the economy of the UK.
Negative Human Effects:
The negative human effects are that riots and other type of violence have occurred because of mobile phones. People that own very expensive mobile phone (like Iphones, H.T.C’s, and Samsungs) may come to a point they have been robbed or been attempted to be robbed. Furthermore cyber bullying, stalking, sexting, threatening, paedophilia and other type of unsafe messaging may arise from the usage of mobile phones and start from a very young age. This is a major problem and is very difficult to prevent from happening.
Positive Environmental Effects:
The positive environmental effects are that phones can be recycled and re-used rather than throwing them in a landfill site. Furthermore there is a method used by most major phone companies where they use no paper for billing; all of this is done electronically and saves many trees being cut down making this process making it more sustainable. Envirofone (a company who deals on recycling phones) allows people to get money for recycling and encourages people to recycle.
Negative Environmental Effects:
The negative environmental effects are that many people still dispose mobile phones in landfill sites rather than recycling and earning money for it. This waste’s a lot of land because the materials will not decompose for thousands of years and this leads to the land being useless for a very long time. Often mobile phones are sent to other countries to be decomposing leading to pollution due to the movement from one country to another. More often, many people are getting new upgrades every 12 or 24 months and the old ones are constantly disposed of.
Positive Human Effects:
Mobile phones are a profitable industry that provides an opportunity for people to earn money in a country where there are few other jobs. Phones allow for checking prices or currency, checking prices allows selling at a better price, this allows more money to transfer to banks, which can be transferred via internet banking off Smart phones. In addition no heavy for mining Colton, saving electricity and preventing the environment from being damaged as much, furthermore lives will be saved from lack of dangerous radiation or activity.
Negative Human Effects:
Many Colton mines are controlled by rebel militarily soldiers, to fund a civil war against the government. When the prices go up, the fighting increases. Some groups are completely cut of control and have been responsible for rapes and murder of children and women.
Positive Environmental Effects:
Heavy machinery stops the need for large machines; large machines’ destroys animal habitats. Small machines’ prevents the destruction of the whole animal habitat. An area of forest is cleared by hand and then the rock is cleared. Next the rock is dug out just below the surface.
Negative Environmental Effects:
Forests are destroyed in the mining of Colton. Estimates of 8000 gorillas have been killed from either hunting or loss habitat in the mining process of mobile phone. The rebels which own the mines have no consideration for environment: all they look is the most efficient method of earning money.
How sustainable are mobile phones in Congo (Africa)?
They are not sustainable because the environment is destroyed and the mining in Congo is a non-sustainable method of mining and needs to be reconsidered in ore/ How sustainable are mobile phones in China (Asia)?
I think that it’s sustainable as the companies make a lot of money out of it and it creates a lot of jobs for its citizens. Even though it’s economically sustainable it’s environmentally unsustainable. I think it’s unsustainable because it causes pollution which is environmentally unsustainable this effects most citizen living next to factories and mining industries.
How sustainable are mobile phones in The United Kingdom (Europe)? I think its sustainable as it creates a lot of jobs and a good pay which could keep the family going for a while I still think that it is less sustainable than china but more sustainable than Congo. In this country we are environmentally sustainable as our industries don’t make any pollution or any kind of chemical poison outside the landfill sites. It is economically sustainable as our companies make a lot of money and pay employees a good wage.
In my conclusion, I find that consumerism is a double-edged sword. It is beneficial to people so that they can get items they need, pay for them and the items are theirs. It is bad in that we become slaves so we able to purchase these things we want if we are not careful. Also, I seriously do not like how much money is used and how people can become slaves to that too, encouraging more work out of the person to try to pay off debt and lose something they’ve invested money in since if they don’t pay for it all, it’s not really theirs after all, even though they used the product.
I think responsible consumerism is the answer and more people need to be taught that money should only be used when it is necessary, and they be reminded that the item, no matter how much they put into it, until it is paid off, it is not truly theirs. Someone else owns it and can take it away so it is important that if money is a necessity, the item is paid off for as soon as possible. Also, I think more people need taught the rules of consumerism so they are not screwed over so easily and taken advantage of by companies in MEDCs offering ‘easy outs’ that are never so easy after all.
It is basically our responsibility as individuals to learn the system whether it is taught to us or not. We have to know what we are getting into and always read between the lines and see the small print. Also, know where imports and such come from, do things that are reasonable with purchases and if you have a job, work well to keep it going as long as you can stand for what the work does. Don’t get jobs that you know are questionable in integrity such as telemarketing and sales of items that you would yourself have no will to buy. These kinds of things can help us in the end to feel good about ourselves and also reduce our debts. Consumerism is all about commonsense on the level of the consumers. We can control businesses better if we all don’t let them trick us with hockey deals and let them mess up our lives with a ton of money over our heads. We also have to be smart and save money early on to stay out of debt as much as possible. Parents saving up for kids’ university early, kids saving up for cars early etc can help in this. If we aren’t careful though, consumerism is very harmful, so this is why I say it is a double-edged sword. We can either make out well with it or we can be seriously wounded.
http://www.ourbreathingplanet.com/consumerism-and-the-pursuit-of-happiness/ (Source 2) –
Data showing worldwide subscribers at the end of 2007
Data showing mobile phones in Africa