Building a Sustainable Society: The Necessity to Change the Term 'Consumer'
The profit-seeking system leads to many negative environmental impacts. Within this economic system, consumption reflects an important relationship between humans and nature. However, despite the growing international attention to environmental sustainability, our society does not necessarily acknowledge consumerism as the cause of global environmental degradation. Deconstructing the consumption culture and redefining what determines well-being, this paper will attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the existing definition of people in the economic system. Many authors have defined our role in the economy; however, in terms of customer, citizen-consumer, and socially conscious consumer, most of the literature in this domain remains rooted in consumerism. Consumerism cannot be fixed with further consumerism; therefore this paper discusses the importance of reclaiming our identity and the need to define new terms for people in a new economic system. Any new terms should integrate interests and responsibilities that go beyond simple utility maximization. Moving beyond the term “consumer” will change our worldview. This cultural transformation may help facilitate long-term environmental sustainability.
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