Short Essay on Bauman and May Views Question 1

ShortEssay on Bauman and May Views


Baumanand May talk about the modern consumer society and the impacts onindividual lives and society. In the statement “it becomes eachperson’s duty to improve themselves and their lives, to overcometheir shortcomings” (Bauman and May, 2001) shows howindividualization has taken the world by storm. This statement meansthat every individual takes care of his or her needs and the needs ofothers becomes irrelevant. In other words, individuals have thetendency to take care of their person needs without caring about thewellbeing of others. The need to improve one leads to societal needsdeterioration. For instance, the need to escape from public transporthas led to purchasing one’s car hence, increased pollution andcongestion.

Itis notable that we are living in a capitalistic and consumer societydriven by the need to seek better ways of living (The Basis of ModernSocieties). Technology has changed the way things operate in thecurrent world. The desire to make lives more comfortable hasconversely led to deterioration of the same. The capital society aimsat making profits by making the needs of consumers viable. Companiesadvertise things that are meant to make lives better hence the greatcompetition. In turn, producers keep producing more desirable goods,and consumers tend to adopt them without thinking about the possiblesociety impacts. In the end, people solve a problem by creatinganother one. For instance, people buy private cars to evade publictransportation and seek more comfort however, they create otherproblems that affect them in the long run. They congest their ownroads and cause pollution in their own environment too. In the longrun, they end up paying by staying in traffic for long as well asspending more of their money by counteracting the effects ofpollution. Bauman and May try to show the real problem when thesociety becomes a consumer and when people only take care ofthemselves with little regard to the society needs.

Thereis freedom to choose what to consume or what to purchase. This issomething that has led to individualization and each individualtaking care of his or her needs. People consume whatever they likewithout considering whether this will affect the society in the shortor long run. The desire to fulfill individual needs seems to be theorder of the day. This is synonymous with every man for himself.Technology has made it easy for consumers to purchase with minimalinteractions. When people consume, they only think about themselves. It does not matter how much this may affect the society as long asthey have fulfilled their personal desires. This explains why thereis too much pollution on the environment. Each individual contributesto pollution that adds up to the major pollution. When people try tomeet to their personal needs, they end up creating another problemthat affects the larger society (Harder).

Itis true that in the contemporary society, every man takes care of hisneeds alone. Technology gives people a wider range of options forcomforts, which apparently cause more harm than ever before. A richman owns several cars that consume much fuel thus, polluting theenvironment more. However, he builds a mansion in the less congestedareas with less pollution and leaves the poor to ingest pollutioncaused by them in the congested areas. He will also employ people towatch over them, without minding about their wellbeing. Of essence,he only wants to live a life of comfort regardless whether it affectsother people negatively. We have seen people kill others for theirselfish needs. Taking the life of a fellow human being isunacceptable, but since the victims make the lives of theirvictimizers difficult, they are killed. It is a case where a manneeds to care of himself alone.

Thisform of individualization may sound good for the capitalisticsociety. However, in the long run, it is venom to the society. Peopleprogressively, through their consumer behavior, create more problemsin an attempt to solve a problem. Every solution comes with a problemthat in most cases is detrimental to the community. A good society isone that considers co-existence. The more people create selfishsolutions, the more they create problems for themselves.Individualization is one of the major reasons we have terrorismattacks, and other disturbing forms of life. People make baddecisions knowing that they have the freedom to as they no longercare about others. In the end, they make a society that does notrespect human beings and the community at large. The fact that peoplehave a desire to make their lives more comfortable does not mean thatthey should do it at the expense of others. Let people make decisionsthat affect them alone without affecting the society. It is difficultto achieve this, but it is possible if people learn to think beyondtheir mere individual interests.


Bauman,Z., &amp May, T. (2001). Thinkingsociologically.Malden, MA: Blackwell Publ.

Harder,L. is social welfare viable? Pdf

TheBasis of Modern Societies. Pdf