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 provide 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

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

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

geminijubilee Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

thank you for putting this into words op

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#2

Useless Stuff Indeed

Useless Stuff Indeed

Aryan__jain Report

Lucifer
Community Member
1 month ago

Capitalism is built on exploitation. The trick is to convince people that it's not.

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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 Bored Panda. "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

Great To See Out Society As A Whole, Progressing

Great To See Out Society As A Whole, Progressing

Quinny357 Report

Sebastian Richter
Community Member
1 month ago

In other countries you can get arrested when getting stuff out of Supermarkt dumbsters.

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#4

There Are So Few Spaces Like This Left

There Are So Few Spaces Like This Left

Route2FI Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
1 month ago

So sad but true, I remember community centers that has activities for free, now you gotta pay for certain things

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#5

Put The Small Biz Before Big Biz

Put The Small Biz Before Big Biz

leftistceo Report

Steve Wilson
Community Member
1 month ago

I absolutely agree but I have one huge concern: If I buy five things on line from five different web sites it means I’ve given my credit card info to five different people I have probably never dealt with before.

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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

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

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

Random_420-69 Report

Angela Turrall
Community Member
1 month ago

They are not wrong. I largely buy second hand, and almost only leather, these things have had a whole life before me, and will have a whole other one after.

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#7

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

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

FluffonStuff Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

smart and it looks so cool!

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#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!

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!

kziekh Report

Gosiaatje
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

And you can see that the old straps were made of the so-called vegan leather - plastic fabric covered with a plastic coating that starts to peel off after a year of using. Been there, done that. I am never buying a "vegan" leather bag again.

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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

What Up Water Homies

What Up Water Homies

notnowbutnever Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 month ago

But sadly a lot of people don't have access to healthy tapwater for various reasons, ranging from incompetent authorities not able to set up a functioning water supply system to incompetent authorities wilfully poisoning their citizens with lead.

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#10

Our Economy Thrives Off Insecurities

Our Economy Thrives Off Insecurities

rockinwalrus Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
1 month ago

Aaaaand we would have more pockets!

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#11

Just Came Across This And I Just Wanted To Share It

Just Came Across This And I Just Wanted To Share It

ellierue678 Report

lunar eclipse
Community Member
1 month ago

Yessssss. Live Ghibli

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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

🙄

🙄

MrsSnax Report

XSpooky_Mint
Community Member
1 month ago

As a witch I can tell you right now, that's not how it works

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#13

Me Everytime There Is A Discussion About Straws

Me Everytime There Is A Discussion About Straws

xiouoix Report

Mazer
Community Member
1 month ago

Bamboo or metal straws are a good option and BTW - there are some people with physical issues who do better drinking from a straw

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#14

Living In The 20's

Living In The 20's

Forest_of_Mirrors Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

HMMMMMMMM

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#15

Yep

Yep

Thewalrus26 Report

Truth Monster
Community Member
1 month ago

This one deserves to be higher

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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

Found On Fb

Found On Fb

gingariffic Report

timothy green
Community Member
1 month ago

Pete Seeger was an awesome man

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#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!

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!

slimatuga Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

thank you for not setting fire to a whole forest

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#18

This

This

sleepisocialist Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
1 month ago

80 hour weeks: slavery

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#19

To Keep Prices High

To Keep Prices High

omgno2trump Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
1 month ago

Like day old donuts that get thrown out instead of giving it out

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#20

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

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

ShibbyHaze1 Report

I I
Community Member
1 month ago

the whole place is a grift

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#21

This "Low Plastic" Pen Is A Perfect Metaphor For Environmentalism Under Capitalism

This "Low Plastic" Pen Is A Perfect Metaphor For Environmentalism Under Capitalism

tjeulink Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

ughhhhhhhhhhh green washing at its finest

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#22

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

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

Mathemasmitten Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

clever!

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#23

We Need A Different Economy

We Need A Different Economy

jasonhickel Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

Louder for the people in the back!

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#24

Restaurant Ask Customers To Stop Wasting Buffet Food

Restaurant Ask Customers To Stop Wasting Buffet Food

Yonski3 Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

Then stop the "all you can eat!!"

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#25

Not Sure What They're Expecting

Not Sure What They're Expecting

jachymb Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

the space between no ads and paying your artists well while keeping the app free is very small... i dunno how i feel about this because the reason why spotify and youtube are basically free is ads, and the reason why premium paid versions exist is so the artists are still paid

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#26

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

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

wendyburn Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

shocking

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#27

The True Cost Of Stuff

The True Cost Of Stuff

Annonas Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

I hate Black Friday, and how religious holidays has become commercialized , yes the day after thanksgiving is Black Friday, the start of the holiday season ( Xmas for me) I know that Black Friday isn’t a religious holiday, didn’t mention that

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#28

Makes Sense

Makes Sense

halletecco Report

beastmachine.
Community Member
1 month ago

The dongle co.

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#29

What A Beautiful Billboard

What A Beautiful Billboard

strawberryfairythug Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

It's a joy you can experience yourself, without any cost! You can buy my e-book here!!!

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#30

You Are Enough

You Are Enough

Tea_cupsa Report

Petra, princess of Brigid
Community Member
1 month ago

I wish billboards in my town were this nice.

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#31

Problem Solved

Problem Solved

undignified_cabbage Report

Julie C Rose
Community Member
1 month ago

I don’t mind trucks because I take the bus and don’t own a car. Does that count?

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#32

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

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

TheWildHorse Report

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
1 month ago

knowing Croatian plumbing the bag is for putting used toilet paper into

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#33

Some Decent Tips I Think

Some Decent Tips I Think

reddit.com Report

jammer
Community Member
1 month ago

I’d love to recycle the burnable plastic, but a diesel truck has to transport them 300km for recycling that has 25% efficiency, then drive back too. Bodies I can bury in the back, though.

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#34

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

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

secretly-a-bear Report

Sebastian Richter
Community Member
1 month ago

Wtf?

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#35

This Really Hit Home For Me To See Today!

This Really Hit Home For Me To See Today!

markianna Report

loopyli
Community Member
1 month ago

The bus is extremely inefficient time-wise, especially if you don't live in a major city or if you commute. Also the greyhound suuuucks. I once took a 8hr bus ride from PSL to Jax. If we can fix the mass transit problem then more people might actually use it.

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#36

Permanent Permaculture

Permanent Permaculture

madigolightly Report

Muff_Fluff
Community Member
1 month ago

Gardens are a lot of upkeep. A lot of people don’t have time for them. Plus there’s the issue of finding something that will grow where you live.

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#37

Great Idea Stolen From Facebook

Great Idea Stolen From Facebook

nishthenarwal Report

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
1 month ago

Is it just me that thinks that weddings are a wasteful con?

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#38

Bernie Showing Us All The Way

Bernie Showing Us All The Way

Emmerson_Brando Report

Me Oh My
Community Member
1 month ago

A model for us all. And to think nobody voted him for president.

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#39

Just Ewww

Just Ewww

fajorsk Report

Mazer
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Sorry to see that what you own is directly linked to your fragile ego

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#40

Less Ads More Content Follow

Less Ads More Content Follow

VisualImportant Report

Mazer
Community Member
1 month ago

What a load. How do you think all the people who produced your precious tv program is paid for??

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#41

Brands Aren't Your Friends

Brands Aren't Your Friends

reddit.com Report

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
1 month ago

does it say #AvertisingShitsInYourHead?!

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#42

It Do Be Like That

It Do Be Like That

heathens997 Report

Jeremy
Community Member
1 month ago

Drake would be poor then

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#43

You Know When You Can't Figure Out If Something Is Satire?

You Know When You Can't Figure Out If Something Is Satire?

wsgy111 Report

brukernavn340
Community Member
1 month ago

That's assuming the cyclist also doesn't own a car.

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#44

Sometimes That's Hard To Forget With All The Advertisements For Sustainable Clothing Brands

Sometimes That's Hard To Forget With All The Advertisements For Sustainable Clothing Brands

BigLino Report

Winter Eleven
Community Member
1 month ago

Women's clothing is less quality than man's. In my experience, my shirts get ripped and overstretched in less than a year. Boyfriend has the same damn s**t without any tiny holes in since like 2015 (the cost was the same)

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#45

This Would Be Very Depressing

This Would Be Very Depressing

ActNormalOrElse Report

Angela Turrall
Community Member
1 month ago

“Hello? Yes, I’ve changed my mind, and I’d like to take the blue pill please.”

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#46

Bruh

Bruh

reddit.com Report

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

individual wrapping is really bad, especially in Japan, everything is entombed in plastic here

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#47

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

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

carl0071 Report

loopyli
Community Member
1 month ago

Damn, I never thought about that.

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#48

Right

Right

prettycritical Report

Angela Turrall
Community Member
1 month ago

And that leotard will be up her butt crack and wedged in her hooha fast than you can say downward dog, how uncomfortable and impractical. I hate the consumerism that sits behind climate change, and how so few see that this is adding to the problem.

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#49

Plastic Straws And Sandwich Cutters Aren’t The Devil

Plastic Straws And Sandwich Cutters Aren’t The Devil

Renny-or-not Report

yeciye
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm now curious: who needs plastic straws?

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#50

Absolutely Disgusting

Absolutely Disgusting

no-oxford-commas Report

Mandy Renn
Community Member
1 month ago

Well he's an idiot if he wants to break in new shoes every single day.

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Note: this post originally had 78 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.