Megosztás Ea3d52d63a00e5e2bbc1d554befa530a
Consumer capitalism: three phases

Gilles Lipovetsky is a french philosopher and one of the most representative of the current 'ethics smart' that supports a postmodern culture based on the predominance of individual universal and diversification of extreme behavior and gestures.

The author argues that the new world-culture concept came from globalization. The society tends to become increasingly individualistic, technological and commercial. The consumer society completely transformed the common sense of culture. Today, all activities, from fashion to tourism or urban planning, obey the laws of economics, because everything has to be profitable. Everything changed. What is sold is a lifestyle, not a product. The culture is no longer an exclusive world of the elites. Everyone can access to it. Now, it is a choice.

Based on the previous idea, it is inevitable not to refer to the book Paradoxal Happiness. In the book, Lipovetsky presents us with the idea that there are three stages of consumer capitalism. These three phases are related to culture-world. It is possible to consider that each step is the evolution of the previous and eventually contributed to the global culture.

The first phase of consumer capitalism presented as one in which the whole process starts. There is an big invesment in infrastructures to improve the conditions to turn the communication eaiser.

After that, in 1920, the second phase started to appear, which is the concept of consumer society. The mass consumption is in vogue and, as it was said before, everyone has access to everything. So, it is possible to conclude that the elite consumption was fading. In this peroid, if in one hand we see the increase of mass consumption, and in the other, we see a big change in the way how the society treats it. In other words, consumption becomes the experience. People start to consume because they want what makes them happy. The social status is not important anymore for the majority.

This is how the third phase appears, the hyper-consumption period. It is represented by diversified supply and by a growth of comfort and hobbies’ importance. Here, each person is consuming for itself and because of its feelings. What the society think, doesn’t matter. Lipovetsky says that “the consumption »to itself« surpassed the consumption »to another«”.

But not only this consumption appeared. The passion of brands grew and it is seen as "the way that the consumer takes when purchasing the act acquires a logic deinstitutionalized and internalized, demand-driven sensation and a best-being subjective." The consumer assumes a selfish position when he is buying. Not only because he focuses on what he wants, but also because he is trying to define a personality. In this phase, the consumer has changed his mind. Why consume to the others? The important part is himself. By the way, when the consumer is buying to define the person he is, it is to show it to the society. Ambiguous? Yes, indeed. The consume to “the other” didn’t disappear. It just became hidden.

To conclude, the consumer capitalism shows what the author defends: people consume because they see that action as a way to be happy, at least for a moment. In other words, it is a Paradoxal Happiness.

Szerző: Rita Barreto