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September 25, 2021
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50 Insightful And Funny Takes On Anti-Consumption, As Shared On This Online Community

50 Insightful And Funny Takes On Anti-Consumption, As Shared On This Online Community
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When U.S. soldiers returned home after World War II, they found a country quite different from the one they had left. Wartime production had helped pull America’s economy out of the depression, and during the late ’40s, young adults saw a remarkable rise in their spending power. Jobs were plentiful, wages were higher, and people were eager to spend. Between 1945 and 1949, Americans bought 20 million refrigerators, 21.4 million cars, and 5.5 million stoves, a trend that continued well into the 1950s. The massive growth of suburban populations meant an even bigger demand for automobiles. Families of all income brackets were buying televisions.

Historian Elaine Tyler May thinks that the federal government and the American people saw the new consumerism as a way to de-emphasize class differences while stressing traditional gender roles. Things that defined “the good life” were within their economic reach, so working-class people could achieve the upward mobility they craved.

And we haven’t stopped filling our inner void with sparkling things ever since. As Kerryn Higgs, the author of Collision Course: Endless Growth on a Finite Planet said, the capitalist system depends on never-ending growth and it would simply fail if people were content with what they have. Over the course of the 20th century, capitalism preserved its momentum by molding the ordinary person into a consumer with an unquenchable thirst for its “wonderful stuff.”

And the subreddit r/AntiConsumption illustrates this notion beautifully. Its 294K members criticize, question, and discuss everything consumerism-related, and provides clear-cut examples of how the system degenerated. What I like about this online community is that it isn’t ringing alarm bells, declaring the end of times. Instead, it invites us to take a step back and look at the reality we have created for ourselves.

#1 Useless Stuff Indeed

Image credits: Aryan__jain

#2 Thought This Belonged Here… It Drives Me Nuts How There Is Such A Purchase-Culture Around Fitness And Health

Image credits: geminijubilee

To learn more about r/AntiConsumption, we contacted its moderator, u/NihiloZerowe. “There is a broad range of subject matter that gets discussed in the subreddit,” they told We. “You often see posts from people who are sick of litter, who are discontent with the dominant economic order, and who dislike excess packaging. There are a fair number of vegans in the sub and many subscribers are concerned about global warming and ecological degradation. Occasionally, someone will promote some sort of boycott or protest. I’d say the sub definitely leans left, but I don’t ban people who want to argue about some sort of idealistic capitalist ecotopia. One thing that makes the sub stand out from other similar subs is that we don’t have much tolerance for green consumerism. Trying to market your ‘eco-groovy’ new product in r/AntiConsumption will probably not help your sales very much.”

u/NihiloZerowe also tries to avoid moderating the subreddit with a heavy hand. They believe that “even seemingly inane posts can spur discussion, bring in new subscribers, and lead people to other posts discussing more substantial topics.” To be honest, I can’t remember a Reddit community this big and active with just one person looking after it. But it looks like u/NihiloZerowe is doing one hell of a job.

“Some people don’t like memes but if those memes drive traffic… Then I see that as a positive. To the extent that the content gets a bit monotonous (e.g., MY USB STICK CAME IN A BOX THAT COULD HOLD A BUICK!). I encourage people to post the content that they’d prefer to see discussed. If you don’t like something in the sub then downvote it, mark it as read, and move on. Or maybe explain why you don’t like something. I really like to see debate and discussion in the sub and try not to stand in the way of that. As long as the posted content isn’t overtly bigoted or an advertisement in disguise, I’ll usually let it stay up so that subscribers can vote and respond to it as they see fit.”

#3 There Are So Few Spaces Like This Left

Image credits: Route2FI

#4 Great To See Out Society As A Whole, Progressing

Image credits: Quinny357

#5 Put The Small Biz Before Big Biz

Image credits: leftistceo

In a way, economic anthropologist, author, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Dr. Jason Hickel, agrees with the subreddit. According to him, the great challenge of the 21st century is learning to consume less. “In recent years, scientists have published estimates of the world’s total consumption of material stuff, including everything from fish to livestock, minerals to metals, forests to fossil fuels. It comes to more than 80 billion tons of stuff per year. A sustainable level of consumption is about 50 billion tons per year, scientists believe. We are overshooting the mark by 60%,” Hickel explained.

“This means we are eating away at the web of life on which we all depend for our survival. This might sound impossibly abstract, but we can see the consequences around us. Fish stocks are collapsing. Pollinators are dying off. Agricultural topsoils are turning to dust. Huge swathes of coastal ocean have become dead zones.”

#6 What Up Water Homies

Image credits: notnowbutnever

#7 Remember Kids, “Vegan Wool” Is Plastic. And When It Breaks, It’s Decomposition Will Not Be Friendly

Image credits: Random_420-69

#8 Old Bag New Life So My Mom Spent The Day Removing The Old Straps From Her Swimming Bag And Replaced Them With What She Had At Home: Some Old Cargo Straps. I Think The Colors Work Really Great With Each Other! Please Give Her A Thumbs Up!

Image credits: kziekh

From everything they’ve seen on the sub, u/NihiloZero expects that society will consume less in the not-so-distant future. But with that being said, the moderator doesn’t think it’ll be caused by some sort of positive cultural shift.

“Rather, I believe that resource scarcity, environmental degradation, and political instability around the world will break down the modern system of consumerism as we know it. I believe the hiccups in the supply chain that we’re seeing right now as a result of the pandemic are small potatoes compared to what’s coming. It would be nice if we could make a smooth transition to smaller self-sufficient and sustainable communities, and I won’t try to stop you if that’s what you’re trying for, but I really don’t expect such a transition to be smooth, if it ever happens at all,” they explained their thoughts.

#9 My Work Is Required To Have Paper Charts And Maps, But They Expire Every Couple Months. I Take The Expired Charts And Use Them As Wrapping Paper

Image credits: FluffonStuff

#10 Our Economy Thrives Off Insecurities

Image credits: rockinwalrus

#11 ?

Image credits: MrsSnax

u/NihiloZero said the community of the subreddit “can be a bit holier-than-thou sometimes.”

“You see a fair bit of gatekeeping and fingers pointed at those who are deemed to be conspicuous consumers. The anti-capitalists don’t like the capitalists. The vegans don’t like animal eaters. The pedestrians don’t like the filthy motorists. We probably get a relatively high number of luddites commenting in the sub. Related to all the “anti-” positions… we also get a fair number of trolls who like to push the buttons of the true believers. But, really, I think the sub is mostly comprised of people who are sick of the violence, destruction, and waste in the modern world. Sometimes we can laugh about it, sometimes we can’t. Sometimes we’re serious and sometimes we’re not,” the moderator explained.

#12 Me Everytime There Is A Discussion About Straws

Image credits: xiouoix

#13 Just Came Across This And I Just Wanted To Share It

Image credits: ellierue678

#14 This “Low Plastic” Pen Is A Perfect Metaphor For Environmentalism Under Capitalism

Image credits: tjeulink

#15 Yep

Image credits: Thewalrus26

Since /r/AntiConsumption is about to hit 300,000 subscribers, u/NihiloZero wanted to use the opportunity and encourage everyone who enjoys its content to become a member.

“Please don’t let me dissuade you from working on sustainable projects or promoting them in the sub,” they added. “We’ve got a lot of subscribers who are into that sort of thing and would likely give you feedback. Some of it might be positive, and some of it might be negative, but you’re likely to get feedback either way!”

#16 This

Image credits: sleepisocialist

#17 My Sister’s Gender Reveal “Party”. Her Doctor Wrote The Baby’s Gender On A Piece Of Paper. At The End Of The Day The Whole Family Joined A Video Call Where She Unfolded The Paper! That Was It!

Image credits: slimatuga

#18 Living In The 20’s

Image credits: Forest_of_Mirrors

#19 To Keep Prices High

Image credits: omgno2trump

#20 Consumption Is Most Ravenous At The Top Of Society, Consuming Small-Businesses Too

Image credits: ShibbyHaze1

#21 We Need A Different Economy

Image credits: jasonhickel

#22 Not Perfect Anti Consumption, But I Used Black Takeout Containers And Old Greeting Cards To Give Out Homemade Cookies This Year

Image credits: Mathemasmitten

#23 Makes Sense

Image credits: halletecco

#24 Found On Fb

Image credits: gingariffic

#25 Restaurant Ask Customers To Stop Wasting Buffet Food

Image credits: Yonski3

#26 Did You Know That You Can Rewear Clothes? This Changes Everything

Image credits: wendyburn

#27 Just Ewww

Image credits: fajorsk

#28 The True Cost Of Stuff

Image credits: Annonas

#29 What A Beautiful Billboard

Image credits: strawberryfairythug

#30 Some Decent Tips I Think

Image credits: reddit.com

#31 Croatian Company Made Their Toilet Paper Package With A Cool Dual Purpose

Image credits: TheWildHorse

#32 Problem Solved

Image credits: undignified_cabbage

#33 You Are Enough

Image credits: Tea_cupsa

#34 My Sister Asked Me To Buy These 2 Products For Her Birthday. This Is The Packaging For 10 Ml Of Product

Image credits: secretly-a-bear

#35 This Really Hit Home For Me To See Today!

Image credits: markianna

#36 Not Sure What They’re Expecting

Image credits: jachymb

#37 Less Ads More Content Follow

Image credits: VisualImportant

#38 This Would Be Very Depressing

Image credits: ActNormalOrElse

#39 Great Idea Stolen From Facebook

Image credits: nishthenarwal

#40 Bernie Showing Us All The Way

Image credits: Emmerson_Brando

#41 Permanent Permaculture

Image credits: madigolightly

#42 Sometimes That’s Hard To Forget With All The Advertisements For Sustainable Clothing Brands

Image credits: BigLino

#43 You Know When You Can’t Figure Out If Something Is Satire?

Image credits: wsgy111

#44 Bruh

Image credits: reddit.com

#45 Brands Aren’t Your Friends

Image credits: reddit.com

#46 Right

Image credits: prettycritical

#47 It Do Be Like That

Image credits: heathens997

#48 Plastic Straws And Sandwich Cutters Aren’t The Devil

Image credits: Renny-or-not

#49 I See This Every Year. Over 60,000 New iPhone & Samsung Cases Are Dumped Because They Won’t Fit The New Models

Image credits: carl0071

#50 Absolutely Disgusting

Image credits: no-oxford-commas

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