When did we become American Consumers instead of American Citizens? It irks me when I hear government officials or anyone else refer to me as an American Consumer (well not me specifically, us). Surely there is still more to being an American Citizen than just consuming stuff.
Citizen versus Consumer
I pulled out my trusty dictionary and looked up words related to citizen versus consumer.
- citizen – 1. a native or inhabitant of a town or city, 2. a native, inhabitant, or denizen of any place, 3. a member of a state or nation, who owes allegiance to it by birth or naturalization and is entitled to full civil rights
- citizenship – 1. the status or condition of a citizen, 2. the duties, rights, and privileges of this status, 3. a person’s conduct as a citizen
- civil rights – those rights guaranteed to the individual by the Constitution of the United States and other acts of Congress, esp., the right to vote, exemption from involuntary servitude, and equal treatment of all people with respect to the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property and to the protection of the law
- consume – 1. to destroy, as by fire; do away with, 2. to use up, to spend wastefully; squander, 3. to eat or drink up; devour, 4. to absorb completely; engross or obsess, 5. to buy for one’s personal needs
- consumer – a person or thing that consumes; opposed to producer
- consumerism – 1. the practice and policies of protecting the consumer by publicizing defective and unsafe products, misleading business practices, etc., 2. the consumption of goods and services, 3. the theory that a continual increase in the consumption of goods is sound economically
Author’s Soap Box (opinion)
Sure I took economics in school and I know about supply and demand, gross national product, profit margins, quarterly earnings, etc. I realize that purchasing stuff provides jobs. However, I don’t believe that buying ever more stuff, some of which we don’t need, is helpful to us as individuals, families, communities, or as a country.
As American Citizens we have the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. But not at the expense of others in our country and around the world. Earth does not belong to the United States. It is not ours to deplete and pollute at an ever increasing rate as we consume more stuff we don’t need.
I want to become a better American and world citizen and not just a consumer. How about you?
- 4th of July – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
- GDP is So 20th Century – Gross National Happiness is In
- Keeping up with the Joneses – Let’s Not
- U.S. National Archives
- Webster’s New World College Dictionary Fourth Edition