Consumerisms can be described to be an economic and social ideology that encourages consumption of products and services to an ever-increasing extent. The ever growing use ultimately leads to overproduction and oversupply by manufacturers, hence, increased consumer spending. On the other hand, development denotes a process of growth associated with the well-being of citizens within a nation (Zaharia and Zaharia 115). The difference between the two concepts is engrossed on the basic approaches towards social organizations other than the question of degree. Sustainable development is a fundamental need while consumerism is an abnormality deviating from capitalism (Longhofer and Jorgenson 20). Therefore, this paper aims to describe the connection between consumerism and development using the case of obesity and hunger experienced in the LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) region.
The link between development and consumerisms entails that development should ensure citizens are provided with adequate information on consumption. Still, growth tends to be sidetracked by consumerism. In the year 2017, both the Caribbean and Latin America simultaneously experienced conflicting nutritive problems, obesity (usually observed in developed nations) and hunger that is usually encountered in developing countries (Crowley). The slower poverty reduction rates in these nations lead to food insecurity, which was termed as the ‘perfect storm’; approximately over 42 million people were affected by hunger in the LAC region. At the same time, poor nutrition resulted in increased obesity cases, which was labeled as a ‘global epidemic of obesity.’ In the 24 nations of the region, one among five adults was obese, and 7% of children below the age of five were overweight, totaling to over 96 million obese individuals in the region (Pérez-Escamilla et al. 100). It can be observed that hunger was caused by underdevelopment (undernourishment), while consumerism (over consumption) led to obesity.
In conclusion, hunger and obesity affect the majority of the total population in the LAC region. Therefore, a potential solution to these contrasting problems would be to endorse sustainable food systems, in which consumption and production are synchronized to guarantee food security along with delivery of high nutritional value.
Crowley, Eve. “A Crisis of Overweight and Obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean.” IPSNews, 16 January 2017. www.ipsnews.net/2017/01/a-crisis-of-overweight-and-obesity-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean/
Longhofer, Wesley and Andrew Jorgenson. “Decoupling Reconsidered: Does World Society Integration Influence the Relationship between the Environment and Economic Development?” Social Science Research, vol. 65, 2017, pp. 17-29.
Pérez-Escamilla, Rafael, Muriel Bauermann Gubert, Beatrice Rogers and Amber Hromi-Fiedler. “Food Security Measurement and Governance: Assessment of the Usefulness of Diverse Food Insecurity Indicators for Policy Makers.” Global Food Security, vol. 14, 2017, pp. 96-104.
Zaharia, Ioana and Constantin Zaharia. “The Growth of Environmentally Sustainable Consumerism.” Economics, Management and Financial Markets, vol. 10, no. 2, 2015, pp. 115-120.