Is The Culture Of The West Materialistic?

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Is the culture of the West excessively materialistic? A materialistic person is considered “someone who is markedly more concerned with material things (such as money and possessions) rather than spiritual, emotional, intellectual or cultural values.” The West is generally considered materialistic because in western society peoples’ goals tend to be a better car, a bigger house, nicer clothes and many other material objects. Jeremy Seabrook challenges this theory, and argues that “truly materialistic societies are those of indigenous people” as they “treat the source of their well-being with reverence”, this is to say that one must conserve and value their belongings and the world that makes these possible. Looking at materialism from this view point, the West isn’t as rational as portrayed, largely due to its idealistic views, as presented in the media, that to be successful in life a consumerist lifestyle must be lived. Not only do we advertize in our own countries we demand others to follow suit, “today, billions of dollars (US) are spent on mass media advertizing in this region (China) - aimed at enticing the burgeoning middle class to consume everything from cars to computers”. (1) Seabrook argues that consumerism is largely to blame for societies belief that they will be released from an “ancient bondage”, “the fear of poverty, by want, hunger and insecurity” when in fact they are still very much alive today. And what happens when we don’t have the resources we need, “the deficit is made up in core countries by drawing down the natural resources of peripheral countries and expropriating the resources, through trade. In other words, someone has to pay for our consumption levels” (2) Seabrook argues that if this public greed doesn’t stop and we keep on gutting the planet of its treasures, doomsday will fall upon us. The West must understand that it’s not
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