David Robert Gibson on Consumerism

David Robert Gibson

I will try to reply to most, or hopefully all of your points under these
headings (as Kevin rightly wrote, I have also written much on this in the
LAF over recent years):

What do I mean by Consumerism?

In this context, I mean a dictionary definition of “Attachment to
materialistic values” – colloquially ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, the
attitude embodied by the Harry Enfield character who proclaimed ‘loads of
money’, by the ‘Yuppies’ with their Champagne and Porsches, and by the “Wall
Street” Gordon Gekko character who said “….Greed is Good”. The cache
attached to acquiring as many materials goods as one can afford (or more
commonly what the mortgage and credit card companies will allow). The cache
attached to owning goods made by Gucci, Chanel, Nike, etc.

Consumerism and Character:

Consumerism is demeaning – its vanguard is advertising, most of which is
trivial, superficial, garish and misleading, altogether tasteless. Its main
body involves travelling through congested roads, parking in narrow spaces,
walking through industrialised aisles picking up goods with a dearth of
discrimination, queuing, then the reverse back home. Its back-end involves
reading bills, paying them, borrowing money, working more than one needs to,
and giving large gratuities to the tax man. IMO in each of these cases,
people would be better off spiritually and psychologically doing other
things – looking at a pleasant country scene and fine art, listening to
Mozart and Beethoven, indulging in some sensual pleasure, watching a good
film (preferably downloaded or purchased from a charity shop so one avoids
tax), prayer, meditation, reading a charming or enlightening book,
exchanging emails with libertarians, etc. We have only so much time in this

Consumerism and Government:

Consumerism increases the wealth and power of government – most goods are
subject to tax, national and local, indirect and direct, and most people
most of the time cannot evade that tax. Governments, again national and
local, derive their major source of power from their income via tax. If you
agree with me that their activities are mostly malign, that malignancy must
be funded so they can employ staff to execute their plans with buildings and
equipment funded also by tax

I am strongly in favour of private enterprise, sellers making a fair return,
buying useful and pleasurable goods discriminatingly, but that is not

David Robert Gibson

5 responses to “David Robert Gibson on Consumerism

  1. What snobbish twaddle.

  2. I thought that in a liberal capitalist civilisation, the “consumer” decides what things such as a “price” for something oought to be, and also by his/her actions or inactions, what products succeed or fail.

    I wonder if David Robert Gibson knows that, even today, under what he deems the apotheosis of advertising power oever the consumer’s mind, just over 80% of all “new products” fail.

    Utterly: they are “withdrawn”, at a net loss to their firms.

  3. Tony Hollick


    I have oft quoted your remark that nine out ten new products fail in the marketplace. Now you say it’s 80%!

    Have producers doubled their success rate? Are consumers less discerning? Detail-savants need to know these things!


  4. Tony Hollick

    ‘Cachet’ is spelt this way.


  5. Spencer Whitlock

    Most illuminating. Though it is written in response to something. Whose points is Mr Gibson replying to?