Every living thing consumes. If it stops consuming it dies. We, like every living thing are machines and machines need fuel. What I have realized (in my ever expanding, probably Rube Goldberg-esque machine of a brain) is that I know I need fuel, but I want the right fuel. I do not want fuel that will make me keep running on the bare minimum until I peter out like a poorly and cheaply designed car. I want fuel that will keep my engine running like a dream, despite the dents and dings my exterior absorbs. I want fuel that will make me a Toyota.
I have a friend with a degree in Consumer Science. I never really told her while she and I were in school (Sorry, if you're reading this) but I always thought that her degree was sort of bullshit (says the guy with an Art Education degree, sheesh!) Now, I realize that she uses her degree every single day. She is critical of the cost of the things she buys. She is critical of how the things she buys are made. She is critical of what the things she buys are made of. She does not fall for trumped up or hyped products, but is only swayed by hard facts about products she is considering buying. Being able to do all this seems to lead to an all around better quality of life, I believe.
On the other hand, being a critical consumer can also lead to a feeling of lurking terror. That lurking terror is the terror that massive and unstoppable multinational corporations do not care about the general population's well being and quality of life. That lurking terror is that these unstoppable behemoths of business will continue to try and raise their profit margins by any means necessary, even if that requires them to offer a product that is essentially poisoning their customers and workers. That lurking terror is that not only will massive corporations poison their customers and workers with the products they offer, but they will resort to murder and bribery to keep the conscious public in the dark about such matters. I'm not saying I have any proof that such things actually happen, but I am saying the feeling is definitely there. Just saying.
Aaron C. Molden, 2012