Many people complain that consumerism has taken over society. This complaint has been going on for many decades now, and it’s time to consider the question seriously. Has consumerism taken over and taken the place of good old-fashioned values like generosity and charity. But is this really true, or have they simply taken different guises to suit the changes in society?
Once upon a time, communities were closely knit. You knew everyone on your street and they all knew you, with mothers mothering all the children that came their way and three or four generations living in the same house together. Theft was rarer; when most people know who you are, stealing from anyone is an unwise move to say the least.
But as the world has expanded, people have moved further apart. The internet has enabled us to stay in touch with people who live far away and, as a result, moving to a different country from one’s family has become almost a trend, losing its exotic cachet and becoming as commonplace as living in the same town for the duration of your life.
And the corporate spirit, far from discouraged by the 80’s and the 90’s, has gone every further to stamp out any sense of goodwill in the name of earning money. But is that really how it happened?
When you consider the lack of caring corporations showed for their workers during the miners’ strikes and the industrial revolution, you will come to the inevitable conclusion that, for corporations, the bottom line has always been… Well… The bottom line. So perhaps this isn’t a new and exciting trend; perhaps this is simply how business works, by considering their return the most important part of their development. All things considered, with human rights movements in our western world as successful as they have been, things have gotten progressively more employee-focussed than they ever have been before.
As far as charity goes, more people give to charities today than ever before. Corporations, even big ones, stage Red Nose Day to do strange things for money and many stores allow or encourage you to donate to a charity of their choosing either by offering the option at their online check-out or by keeping a donation box by their tills.
And there is more, as Generation Generosity has inspired some companies to begin undertaking Random Acts of Kindness for their customers. Many companies have found, at this stage, that the best way to cope with our larger world in which people are in some ways further apart than ever, by drawing closer to their customers and their employees through small or large acts of charity.
So while there is still the ever-present issue of the haves versus the have-nots and while people may feel that, on a personal level, we have become greedier, today’s generation has inspired a more altruistic world view in corporate and personal life alike, and that has to count for something!