Disease of Consumption

by Organikal on June 16, 2006

“God made us natural consumers and born traders” – so said the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones during yesterday’s Thought for the Day broadcast.

Triggered by his observance of footballers’ wives “shopping for England” in Germany, the Bishop was commenting on the nature of consumerism in the world today. Referencing the £3000 spent in one hour “What a life” he said, “but I’m not knocking it: there’s something quite endearing about a young couple from a humble background suddenly finding the world at their feet”.

The Bishop went on to discuss the nature of consumerism, and pointed out that God made us so – in fact, Jesus himself was a material man. But the Bishop is concerned that the level of consumerism today might well be a disease – a “manic compulsion – an addiction” and asks us to look to the roots of this behaviour – what makes this so?

I find many of the Thought For The Day broadcasts thought provoking, and this one particularly so.
I wholeheartedly applaud the Bishop’s call for ethical and discerning consumerism, and I also agree we are natural consumers – it’s a facet of my being that I’m very aware of. I recall quite clearly the first day I recognised that shopping for something and getting it made me happy  – I was about 12 and I bought some make up from Boots with a voucher I’d been given for my birthday. I can remember how aware I was that the experience had lifted me emotionally and spiritually!

Many years on, and I do still wrestle with my conscience over the desire to buy/own stuff. I’m not so sentimental about stuff, which makes things easier for me, but I do find myself with some pretty strong desires for things that I don’t need. My current burning desire is for a new Apple MacBook. I already have a laptop and a desktop PC – and they both work fine – so why do I have such a strong desire? According to the Bishop,  it might just be a disease?

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