Fooled by excessive consumerism: shopping’s Converse Error Fallacy

Consumerism in action
We cannot imagine life without the latest and ‘greatest’ gizmo.

Much like Black Friday, the New Year ‘sales’ perpetuate a planned-obsolescence cycle. Unnecessary spending is encouraged. Cheap production methods underpay the world’s poor. Cheap imported goods carry an ecological penalty, an environmental loan to be repaid in full later with high-levels of interest that may undermine our survival.

The rich increase their wealth at the planet and population’s expense. And we, as consumers, are fooled by marketing.

Do you really need to make that purchase?

Hundreds or thousands of ‘good ideas’, ‘indispensable’ widgets and additional features are released daily, each promising to make our lives better.

Very occasionally, however, inventiveness and creativity does prove successful; a discovery or new technology revolutionises how we live and think. But they are rare. Instead we are conditioned to overinvest in things we don’t need; we assume newness is more valuable and preferable to its predecessor.

We cannot imagine life without the latest and ‘greatest’ gizmo. We affirm the consequent — the Converse Error Fallacy: because our lives may be improved by something new, we believe something new will improve our lives.

This damaging cycle is recognised and exploited by those hoping to sell us what we don’t need. Our fear-of-missing-out floods the market with superfluity. Truly great ideas are lost, drowned in overabundance.

We fail by not gaining maximum value from our existing purchases — our investments. We fail by continually reinvesting in something new. Ownership of artificial value and surplus improvements allow us to be perceived as successful.

X may be yesterday’s technology and Y may be indispensable today, but Z will be released tomorrow. And yet, A, B or C is adequate for our needs and requirements.