The country we live in was founded on capitalism, which is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
The problem with most people today is that they fall into consumerism. The dictionary also defines consumerism as the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable.
This has played a major role in today’s society. Think about this: what is the difference between a Bentley and a Honda? Some would say a Bentley is more stylish, “boss” or expensive and that a Honda is more basic and cheaper. However, the purpose of a car is to get from point A to point B.
Not long ago, Apple released the latest version of the iPhone – the iPhone 5. The only major difference between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 is a few more applications that you are not going to use. And if you do use them, they will distract you from being productive. This applies to other material items such as clothing, jewelry and shoes.
During winter break, I met an Indian student who came to the U.S. for school. Out of curiosity, I asked him how he enjoyed America so far. His response was that it was extremely different. An example he gave was that he had only three pairs of shoes, but his roommates had more than 12.
He did not understand the importance of having so many shoes. We live in a society where people wait in lines for Jordans and are even robbed and killed for them. And for what purpose? Social status, wanting to fit in, being stylish, being better and having more than the next person.
We are unknowingly influenced by society, entertainment and celebrities to become slaves to consumerism. Most people will not feel accomplished in life unless they have a 10-bedroom house, a pool, a lake and seven luxury cars with seven different car garages.
Most people are not happy with their accomplishments until they have something to show for it, which means working or going broke just to buy a new item that will possibly release a newer version six months later.
I recently visited a high school where a speaker said, “A person with no wisdom buys what he wants and begs for what he needs.”
Swag is not based on what one has but on one’s state of mind and self-confidence. We are not defined by what we have.
I hope this influences you all to spend your income tax dollars, scholarship, fellowship or financial aid dollars responsibly on necessities instead of senseless items. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself. But seriously, do you need an iPhone, iPad and a Macbook?