“Participation is the new consumption” – from Trendwatching.com

participation is the new consumption

I LOVE IT. Consumption has consumed itself. Nothing is original. Affluence has become affluenza. The only thing which is original and unique is the journey that you take in life.

Participate. Join in. Does this mean we are about to see a resurgence in participatory democracy? Will membership based organisations all of a sudden reverse their global decline? Is travel going to become far less “tourist”? Will people become bloggers or have bloggers become people? Is it all about family again? Dare I suggest it, have churches such as the pentacostals led global trends?

Or is it as simple as saying goodbye conspicuous consumption, hello “joining in” to holidays, events, membership based organisations, knitting clubs and other things that we “do” rather than “buy”?

There’s definitely going to be a shift in expenditure from goods to services in a digital economy.

Constantine Frantzeskos

2 Comments

You are not signed in. Sign in to post comments.


  • Conno,

    First things first, I couldn’t find the article you have a link for. I am therefore going to make some assumptions working back from your exclamations.

    I assume you are trying to say we have come full circle. We have/are abandoning the advertisment driven lives where we exist solely as customers to the businesses which establish such a lifestyle need in order to service it. We are reverting to exploratory lifestyles (read: inner journey, self discovery!?) where industry is there just to meet our needs, not establish them.

    Bollocks and bollocks indeed.

    Australians under the age of 30 are at a financial crossroads. They could be the generation who will not be by and large able to afford a home of their own. Rumours circulate on the likelyhood of 50 year mortgages with at least one financier (ST George?) offering 40 year terms. Today’s people have expenditure that did not exist twenty years ago and can only be met with extra work, to the detriment of a social/family life. Home ownership is the cornerstone of a healthy family life and very soon only few of us will be able to afford it.

    On top of all this, consider the baby boomers being inundated with offers such as reverse mortgages, where the equity in their home is financed back to them to keep them in cash until they die. At the end, the house goes to the bank and Gen X’s inheritance down the gurgler.

    If life is a journey, consider this analogy. You can travel by boat or by plane. The boat is safe when going steady and sure, the plane is safe when flying fast. If it slows down, it falls from the sky. When trying to fulfil you life’s needs of shelter, protection, food, entertaiment, love and procreation you can take it slow and steady. Commit to as few financial burdens as possible. There is no need to be flying high where one lapse, one bad error will have you fall from the sky. Be a few payments ahead of your mortgage, buy last years fashions and eat at home one more day a week.

    I know what you’re saying though, you want to have a life, rather than only being alive to work. You want to have the option of having it all so you can ignore the need of having it all. You envy the people in the survey whose goal is to live and experience life.

    The don’t work, they don’t have bills. They’re free. They play sport, participate in “community” bullshit to raise money for “whatever”. They paddle down the Zambezi like nineteenth century explorers and they get stoned to the eyeballs in Amsterdam with anthropological zeal.

    You could categorise them as such: Either they are rich kids who will abandon their free spirit personas and settle into middle classhood sometime in their mid 20’s. It happened the first time with the hippie baby boomers who are now The Establishment. Or, they’re bums, and as such will continue their lives. Without a job, money or material possesions they will be dumped on the heap when they’ve reached the end of their useful lives.

    We only respect authority and fear danger. It is how our world is built. The concept of a society regressing in any significant numbers to times when neighbourhoods and families meant more is simply a dream. People are far too aware of their rights and expect them with no obligation at all. You cannot make laws that stipulate for us to be good to one another. People have come to the point where right means not wrong. It is only wrong if a law says that it isn’t.

    There is a saying in law along the lines of “you can’t legislate against stupidity”. It comes with the premise that in a large field of subjects, no matter how observant and well meaning, one or two will circumvent the law in order to disprove it. Or otherwise. It’s like admitting that the honour system doesn’t work. So the law has to be stricter, more controlling. Stricter laws cost more to police and enforce. They also rob the rest of the people of some of their rights because there are always arseholes – among us – trying to ruin the party.

    Case study: Suburban street residents have celebrated Christmas with their neighbours for 25 years every year. This year there will not be a Christmas Party because insurance cost is prohibitive.

    You know you’ve read it somewhere.

    Proof that fun, wholesome activities are not worthwhile. What if you do it and your neighbour’s kid falls face first onto your barbeque? What’s that going to cost without insurance cover? $30k? $300k? More?

    Our legal system is adversarial. We are taught to fight and deceive. Winners get the cars, the trophies, the women, the accolades. Take a back seat and you are labeled a coward and a stoner. Go get a job as a shelf stacker and competition is drummed into you.

    To be as Conno suggests, an event creator rather than an event follower is not without its merits. You have to do it without any benefit, without payment or glory. You go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, paint a picture, feed the birds, read to the blind and help old ladies on the bus. Good luck to you and God help you. See if you can do it next time without claiming it on your taxes, without bragging about and without including it on your resume.

    I will try to lead such a non market driven life. Don’t count on me getting around to it though before my mortgage is paid off and my blue chips are returning about $35k a year. Peace.

    Paul Karagiannis 12 years ago


  • God Bless You Paul. Genius.

    Conno 12 years ago


Comments are closed