Confronting the deep problem of consumption: Why individual responsibility for mindful consumption matters

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Decades of intentional cultivation of consumerism, materialism, affluence, and hedonism, fueled by advertising messages, have created a consumption culture that is not sustainable anymore. In addition to the problems of climate change, there are also significant social costs associated with overconsumption and harmful consumption. We identify the causes of the consumption problem and why individual consumers must take responsibility to avoid harmful consumption for their own and societal well-being. Although multi-faceted action by governments, marketers, and civil societies is essential, a bottom-up transformational movement is also required to drive the mindful consumption mindset. Top-down measures of technology-led efficient product solutions and consumer nudging strategies have had limited success compared to the rate at which the problem is compounding. Thus, we suggest four critical interventions to socialize the bottom-up mindful consumption movement—education for transformative social learning; alternative hedonism; advertising, tv, and social media messaging; and creating an engagement forum for all like-minded people devoted to the cause. Through socializing the bottom-up mindful consumption movement, these interventions will encourage a cultural shift toward alternative lifestyle conceptions of well-being, leading to increased sustainable consumption behavior and eudaimonia.




Parvatiyar, A., & Sheth, J. N. (2023). Confronting the deep problem of consumption: Why individual responsibility for mindful consumption matters. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 57(2), 785–820.

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