2019-05-13 03:53:39 UTC
A former friend of mine in California, who was a Marxist, told me that people in capitalism were involved in the “ideology of mass consumption.” My question is, Is this really an ideology?
Many people want wealth without it being ideological. Let's face it, wealth is attractive. It is even attractive to people who have not had ideological indoctrination into capitalism or anything of the sort. It was attractive for example to Soviet residents living under Communism. So is this really ideological, or are we dealing with something that people simply want?
Certainly there are times when it is done in a coercive manner. People are taught that they need to have lots of wealth or they are losers. When I wanted money it was not for the sake of money itself but for the sake of credibility. I was under the impression that nobody would take my views seriously unless I had lots of wealth. I have since found out that there are a number of ways to credibility, money being only one of them, and others including such things as wisdom and strength.
Is there an ideology of mass consumption going on? I think that there are a number of things going on. One, once again, is that wealth is simply attractive and will continue to attract people who want it whatever their ideology. Another is that when we have coercion toward wealth, we have negative results. Everyone wants to become wealthy. Nobody wants to do tasks that do not generate much wealth for themselves but have vast benefit. Scientists, teachers, military, police and any number of others do not make very much money, but their contributions are vast.
Are these people losers because they don't make very much money? No, they are not. Without the scientist the businessman would have very little to sell. Without the teacher the businessman would not have the knowledge that he needs to do his job, and most workers would be unemployable. Without the military and the police there would be no protection for property rights. Some see such people as losers or even irresponsible. They are neither. They need them.
If you have been lead to believe that you are a loser unless you have millions of dollars, think again. Many of the most significant contributors did not make very much money. Nikolai Tesla died in poverty. Thomas Jefferson died deeply in debt. Karl Marx was poor, yet for a long time two fifths of the world followed his ideas. Some people who make significant contributions are rewarded monetarily in their lifetimes, others are not. Once again, some would see such people as losers. Yet they have made bigger contributions than have the people who believe such a thing.
Most things that are good can be used for wrong. It does not damn the value; it damns its misuse. With money, what we see is a good thing that can be used for wrong. We see the same thing with such things as beauty and intelligence. It is important to separate the value from the misuses of the value.
So that while it may very well be undesirable for people to be under coercion to make lots of money, it is however not an ideology. One again, wealth is attractive. I expect that it will continue to be attractive. Some people may very well make an ideology of it and use it for wrongdoing. But I anticipate that many people will want to be wealthy whatever their ideology.