By Youssef Sourgo
Morocco World News
Casablanca, June 19, 2013
Most of us do not feel compelled to choose between clinging to our moral principles versus relinquishing them for consumerist attitudes. It is at this very moment that we become subjugated by our own consumerist drives. In Morocco, consumerism has gradually molded to underlie the fundamental layers of our distinctive Moroccan, day-to-day life. Our moral and ethical standards, on the other hand, are gradually wearing thin before our brand-new, acquired instinct: to consume.
Prof. Dr. Armin Falk from the University of Bonn and Prof. Dr. Nora Szech from the University of Bamberg made quite a revealing and simultaneously daunting experiment. They confronted subjects with the moral decision of pitilessly killing a mouse and consequently receiving an amount of money or objecting to kill the mouse and thus receiving nothing. Results were staggering in a sad fashion. Most subjects accepted to kill the mouse in exchange for money.
The experiment above reveals nothing less than an advanced stage of consumer-driven mindsets. If such experiments were conducted with Moroccan subjects, results would have been equally, if not even more strikingly, lamentable. To the detriment of our moral and even humanist ideals, an enslaving consumerism has become ubiquitous in our day-to-day life.
The mere scene of a cluster of people shoving one another to be the first to purchase a certain product, and thus getting a hold of a bonus, for example, is one instance of moral destituteness. I, myself, was on many occasions a witness to such deplorable scenes, not to mention others that were strikingly worse. Radical consumerism is an abnormality that has now found its path to the core of our Moroccan cultural particularities.
Our consumerist drives are even more reprehensible than the western version
Consumerism is a cultural behavior that finds its roots in western societies; yet, our adoption of such an alien lifestyle has reached stages that go beyond the question of whether or not to kill a mouse for a monetary compensation. Even morally neutral goods can easily induce us to drop our most fundamental principles to appropriate them.
The markets, the institutions promoting a consumerist attitude and the consumer are all responsible for the erosion of moral values. Markets and production companies now perceive consumers as mere commercial targets, sources of profit that circuitously shape products. Markets thus strive incessantly to persuade consumers of what is and what is not serviceable or necessary for them, thus outlining their lifestyle in accordance with their commercial interests.
The mass media on their part solidify and promote the pseudo-needs and illusory necessities crafted by markets and production companies. How many times have we felt a peculiar, abrupt need to buy something after incidentally watching or being exposed to a well-crafted, brainwashing ad on a fine day? Moroccan TV channels are replete with advertisements that echo the same discourse of consumerism. Moroccan websites, radios, newspapers, and so forth, were not immune from this plague.
Consumers, as happy-go-lucky as most of them tend to be, avidly consume advertisements before hasting to shops and supermarkets to answer their acquired consuming instinct. Even education does not shield from such a plague. Parents in low-class and middle-class Moroccan families are being almost assailed by their children to buy them the most recent brand products that are perhaps widely consumed by their peers. Parents, left with no choice before the clamorous shouts of their demanding little ones, generously water the seeds of consumerism in their children.
The claws of consumerism have clutched the profundity of our cultural particularities, sabotaging our moral and ethical foundations. Moroccans are increasingly turning deaf ears to their intrinsic moral consultants. The typical collectiveness of the Moroccan culture is gradually waning and being substituted by the palisades of self-centeredness precipitated by the alien behavior of consumerism. The need to reconstitute our moral and ethical ideals to circumvent a complete enslavement by such a plague has become more of an urgency than a potential option.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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