看青少年消費

  調查發現,不少青少年曾因消費決定和家長發生爭拗。另,25%香港青少年擁有手提電話,其比率比日本(20%)還高。面對青少年過度消費的問題,普遍認為家長和學校應教育他們以生活需要為消費的大前提。可惜,只管「個人需要」實不能使青少年明白他們的消費責任。

  在全球化之下,個人的消費已不是個人能力和滿足等事情,尤其是香港,我們沒有丁點兒天然資源製造所要的消費品,如手電和金飾等,所有的消費品和原料都是靠入口的。換言之,我們對消費品的需求越大,遠方的人民生活和生態環境所受的損害便越嚴重,因為開採和製造消費品總是帶來破壞的。

  開採黃金等採礦工程需砍伐大幅森林,而所用的山埃和水銀勢必嚴重污染當地水源和土壤,對生態環境造成大災難。另外,大量第三世界土地用以種植大豆和飼養牛隻,以供我們享用。當我們每天倒去三千公噸食物時,全球十億人每天衣食不足;當我們把金光閃閃的飾物掛在頸項時,他人正為捍衛基本生存條件而抗爭。

  我們的教育旨在培育青少年對家人朋友、社會國家的關心,如單以個人需要作為消費的大前題,妄顧過度消費對他人、自然環境造成的災害,似未符教育的目標,亦令社會下一代看不清個人消費的真正成本。

  再者,消費主義把個人的生活需要等同個人的負擔能力。由此,對於過著衣食無憂日子的青少年,生活必需品是那些彰顯品味或只宜消閑的消費品,如名牌衣服、遊戲機和手機等,而對成長於家庭收入僅以糊口的青少年,他們所需的便是三餐一宿的情事。這種關係或會令青少年以為只要負擔能力有所改善,就能每季換手機和每月置新衣。可惜,砍林採金帶來的破壞並不會因誰是購買者而有所減輕的。

  在糾正青少年過度消費的問題上,家長和學校的角色是極為重要的。而教導方針應以增強青少年對消費責任的認識和承擔為主。如單以個人需要為消費的大前提,不但令青少年對過度消費帶來的影響一無所知,而由於個人需要被塑造成個人承擔力,這亦使他們容易染上過度消費的陋習。

Same question, again & again......

I know such problems, but what can I do?
For instance, I can choose a pair shoes from those made in China, India, Thailand and Vietnam, what can I do? If all the food are packed with ten layers of packaging, how should I choose?
Do I try to choose one pack with ONLY nine layers, or one with recycled or even just recyclable materials? When there is actually no choice, what can I do? If I eat out, if I can't finish the food, I can choose either to waste it or to waste one more polyfoam box, are they REAL options? However hard we try, the problem is the lack of means......

I mean, sometimes is rather a problem of the supply than the dem

A lot of demands are simply created, but not catered for by certain supplies.
With the examples I used, I stated how 'choice-less' we can be. Also, I want to point out that we don't really want to get things we don't neccessaryli need, but the low price (this judgement varies from a person to another) of a certain thing helps a lot in creating the demand. Around 7, 8 years ago, if you can get amobile phone with HKD 4000, it is regarded 'cheap' already, and how is the price now? When they can afford (at least they think so, as they don't see clearly what they are 'spending'), they have the desire to get the newest, or at least a newer, model... Just as simple as that. It is a negative cycle. Lower price -> increase quantity demend -> attract competition -> price competition -> worse working and living conditions for the lowest level labour......
How to break this chain?

Cohesion is the power

It’s true that a single man’s power is so slight that can hardly affect anything until the power of man is unified. The way you see the problem and its solution is understandable and is indeed the main trend in the society. I do not and no one may be likely to expect that the demand of a single consumer can change the amount of supply, but without demand, the supply will not appear, that it’s understandable to me. Though the low price may to a certain degree accelerate or even generate people’s desire for consumption, the decision of buying or not is made by the consumer always. If you tell me that you are unable to control the desire for consumption in a bargain shop, I do not wonder. Because many people are still blind to the adverse impact of excessive consumption on the environment and the life of others. If you do believe in the power of cohesion, you are able to look into the problem deeply and foresee its solution,

That's true, but...

The problem exactly lies on how can we make it a 'cohesion'.
I try my best to do it myself, and am asking my friends to do it, but by what means we can spread the idea through? Will the people who are really addicted to 'the pleasure of shopping' listen at all?
For this, I really should say thank you because you have brought this matter through, for all of us to discuss and to think more about it. I think this is one way to let more people know or re-think what they should do. But, does it really work? Let's hope so. The point is we have much less power and resources compare with those big companies, advertisers...... They want to urge people 'BUY' more things!
I TRULY think that for a lot of things, the demand is created, by advertisements, low prices, peer pressure (some people are more than willing to be 'sheeps'), decorations and pakages, etc. etc. Like why do people need to have a new mobile phone, when the old one is still working properly? Just because they want to 'show off' their new model! Just because it is so 'cheap' now they can afford one!

First step

How to approach to the solution? How to persuade people to change their consumption pattern? How to change peoples' behaviour and thinking? These questions take a very long time to be solved that is for sure. Using consumption tax may be one of the most powerful one, but it may creates social conflict as the poor or those they call themselves middle-class may face the degradation of living. To raise peoples' awareness of the relationship between excessive consumption and global probem may be the other, but it needs time and consistent effort for breaking the solid thinking of living expectation. Nothing serious matter is really easy, but if you dont begin, you have no chance to reach. This is not new, people.
You can choose how to live, no one can force you to buy something until you say yes i think.

Thank you, I agree.

So, I am starting from myself to do that. I am really only buying what I need, probably. I guess you also get what I mean.
One little remark, several friends and I DID have experience of being forced to buy something, I think the conduct of those salespersons are a bit questionable. Of course, it is another story.
Thanks for your patience and explanations so far! :-)

Yes, you are correct

The rudimentary starting point should be, at least you buy what "you" want, no matter it's necessaries or your desire, and don't go shopping because you want to go shopping.

我很需要你(青年)!

青年這個稱呼對於任何團體都是一個很好用,只要題目是教育青年什麼都有可能!呂大樂便在其文章<年青人為何總是有罪〉一文中精彩地談到一些研究調查:一些調查顯示本地年青人對前景並不樂觀,調查的分析認為「缺乏自信」;另一些顯示本地青年認為自己的競爭力不遜於其他亞洲地區的年青人,調查的分析認為「過於自信」。

青年在原罪的紛圍之下,我們看到這些數字的確令人抗奮,但究竟青年佔了整體的手提供有的數目有是幾多?等等問題一切都在抗奮中被(選擇性地)忘記?

空喊救救孩子,究竟令我們更加明白問題所在?還是在被包裝的數字中打轉?從而滿足我們對教育青年的欲望呢!

青年啊!

自信不自信,受調查的目的、內容和對象等等因素決定了。同樣地,人對調查結果的理解、演繹和批評無不受人的主觀制約。

數字不過是提醒失去了想像力的人的手段;吶喊不過想把半夢半醒的人吵醒,目的不是為了滿足教育什麼人的狂熱,只提醒自己從瘋狂消費的社會洪流中穩住陣腳。

如果青年是純真無邪,不懂人間煙火,為何又總是有罪的了? 

為青年被犧牲了、被紛圍了抱不平是否就能明白了問題?

那麼,社會的問題又是什麼了?

問題妳在那裡!

我當然對現時的消費所帶出的問題會感不滿,亦希望訴譇個人生活到體行動去改變。

但如果數字如郁兄所言是被因素所決定,而青年人永處於被動及原罪的狀態,我們視而不見,不為青年被犧牲了、被紛圍了而抱不平,這樣我們亦會是把他們邊緣化的共犯,例如政府說要減綜緩,政府同樣有數字支持,說他們享有大量社會資源,那樣我們便立即支持減綜緩嗎?

另一方面我想指出調查數字的矛盾,一方不斷有數字指出青年消費問題,就如說青年消費手機數字上升,卻為何沒有提整體的擁有手機比例又或者是其他上升的比例,青年佔百分之幾。另一邊卻出現大量關注成年人是否留港消費、成年人是否有消費意欲,
http://www.dphk.org/2003/images/thumbphoto/041222a.doc
從數字看或都我很難想像,如何去叫成年人教育青年不要消費,另外我更難看到如何捉到社會問題的問題所在!

誰是問題?

過度消費問題的源頭不是在青年或成年、或男或女,而是在建構這自尋短見的社會制度的文化和文明。然而,社會上定有純樸熱誠的青年和貪婪無知的成人,反之亦然。

我相信沒有太多人認為只要把青年教育好,便能治好千瘡百孔的地球和迂腐的社會的。而誰人能夠和應該擁有教育青年的使命?這於我實是個沒有肯定答案,同時沒有氣力尋找答案的問題罷。

或許,拋開固有想法,對於認清過度消費問題和自我是有幫助的。

慚愧

八月又是各大商戶促銷的時候,在還沒有看到這篇文章之前,我也知道我這個月是「過度消費」了,因為在月底的這幾天,銀包真的輕了不少... 看過郁兄的文章,我真的有點慚愧...

聽說過許多次,在購物前必定要問清楚自己:究竟那是「需要」還是「慾望」﹖可惜往往知易難行。明知道家裡的衣服夠穿,但仍追求天天新款;明知道手機還是操作良好,卻仍是心思思想要買功能更多的新款手機...

或許一個人的力量是不多,但我想每個人都有一定的影響力吧... 就如各位在這裡的討論,便如當頭捧喝的再次提醒了我,是時候要控制一下自己無窮盡的貪念...

I bought some clothes also.

Frankly, they are of high qualities and low prices. I don't know if I really need them, as I don't have enough skirts and some other types of clothes here, while I have a lot more clothes back in HK. What is 'need' and what is 'want'? It seems difficult.

For me, shopping is not a problem, window shopping doesn't mean buying anything, just to spend some time, see the trend and things like that, buying things are different matters. What we should prevent is not shopping, but the stupid desires of something we would not use at all after buying. For me, I would say, most of the things in the modern world are not 'necessary', but as long as we use it often enough, it is not a waste. The worst thing is that (whether you thought you needed or wanted or would be using it or not before buying it) you don't use it at all, maybe until it is too old to be used or until you throw it away...... That is what I call a total waste.

Of course, because of getting something new, people, esp. youngsters throw away relatively new things which still function perfectly well is another problem, or the mentaity of not treasuring the things is another. I wouldn't deny it, although I don't do the same thing......