Consumption is the final purchase of goods and services by individuals.
- If we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.
- Basil of Caesarea, Homily 6, “I Shall Tear Down My Barns,” as translated by C. P. Schroeder in Saint Basil on Social Justice (2009), p. 69.
- Some device has been concocted by the devil, suggesting innumerable spending opportunities to the wealthy, so that they pursue unnecessary and worthless things as if they were indispensable, and no amount is sufficient for the expenditures they contrive.
- Basil of Caesarea, Homily 7, “To the Rich,” as translated by C. P. Schroeder in Saint Basil on Social Justice (2009), p. 44.
- Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. ... To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.
Consumption is encouraged by government, business, and even our social leaders. It teaches children the wrong values, pollutes the environment, affects health and health costs, and ultimately life expectancy.
Most importantly, it distorts values and priorities. Unbridled consumption is not a virtue but a disease that should not be encouraged by our leaders. We must recognize that consumption alone is not a measure or standard of living or wellbeing, particularly if it pollutes the environment and affects health.
- People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.
- When our pauper was rich, did he perform any of the useful social functions we've just mentioned simply by spending his money? Though he may have appeared to belong to the ruling class, surely in fact he was neither ruling, nor serving society in any other way; he was merely a consumer of goods. ... Don't you think we can fairly call him a drone? He grows up in his own home to be a plague to the community, just as a drone grows in its cell to be a plague to the hive.
- Since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption.
- E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered (1973).
- It is the expensiveness of our pleasures that makes the world poor and keeps us poor in ourselves. If we could but learn to find enjoyment in the things of the mind, the economic problems would solve themselves.
- John Lancaster Spalding, Aphorisms and Reflections (1901).
- Leisure held the first place at the start, and came to hold a rank very much above wasteful consumption of goods. ... From that point onward, consumption has gained ground, until, at present, it unquestionably holds the primacy.
- Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), p. 92.
- One of the strangest disparities of history lies between the sense of abundance felt by older and simpler societies and the sense of scarcity felt by the ostensibly richer societies of today. Charles Péguy has referred to modern man’s feeling of “slow economic strangulation,” his sense of never having enough to meet the requirement which his pattern of life imposes on him. Standards of consumption which he cannot meet, and which he does not need to meet, come virtually in the guise of duties.
- Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences (Chicago: 1948), pp. 14-15