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State Bowl - Throw Away Society

Consumerism has promoted a 'throw-away' society – one in which people do not keep things for very long, preferring single-use and disposable items. This societal approach leads to overconsumption of short term items instead of durable goods that can be repaired. Widespread social influencing often encourages people to focus on the consumption, ownership, and display of material possessions to mark an individual's social status, identity, and standing. This impacts the environment, lifestyles, and distribution of wealth. Consumerism stretches the world's limited natural resources. Production is dictated by consumer demand, and businesses try to provide consumers with a growing number of options, including branded goods, to stay afloat. Many products are often fads or are adapted and modified regularly to entice consumers to buy the upgrades despite already having durable ones. Constant upgrades are sought in an effort to achieve greater social standing through material possession instead of meaningful acts. How can societies value all of their members while allowing for - and encouraging - individual perspectives and desires? What are the appropriate balances between local values and global aspirations for consumers?

Image by Gary Chan
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