On Monday, spiked hosted a debate on consumerism at the Palace of Westminster in London. Four speakers offered different perspectives on shopping today, then an audience of over 80 people grilled the panel on their arguments. The result was a lively discussion that brought out some fascinating points about what is good and bad about consumer society.
Harry Wallop of the Daily Telegraph offered a historical perspective, arguing we should count our blessings about the incredible choice available today. Philosopher Julian Baggini also looked at the benefits of choice, but argued that we need to take the problems of consumerism seriously, too, from low wages to environmental problems. Author and spiked contributor Daniel Ben-Ami discussed the issues of consumerism and anti-consumerism, arguing that building an identity on shopping – or not shopping – led to a narrow view of us as human beings. Helen Dickinson from the British Retail Consortium – which sponsored the debate – emphasised the power of consumers in encouraging competition and driving innovation.
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