The merits of consumerism

While reading chapter 9 of Mazower’s Dark Continent, the idea of consumerism caught my attention. It would seem that consumerism has encouraged an individualistic perspective throughout Western Europe. “Goods, not gods were what people wanted” (Mazower 302). In other words, people sought to climb the social hierarchy as measured by material wealth. Individual ambitions were placed above any collective group goal. Yet, in adopting a consumerist and individualist agenda, Western European countries are now among the largest economies in the world. Certainly having a better standard of material living than many collectivist countries in Asia and Africa. Some food for thought, is individualism better than collectivism? Or perhaps they are simply different and neither is better than the other.

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