Saturday, December 15, 2012

Consumerist Yearning: How Knockoffs Make it Too Easy to Consume

Eddie Truong
Blog #2

It's week 2 of the "Be Green" challenge and I don't feel like my life has changed too much. I suppose that it's because I've never had enough money to buy extra items that I don't need to change my lifestyle too much to meet the challenge.

When I do buy something for the holidays, however, I realize that I often go for the cheapest clothes in a department store so that I can look like I'm wealthier or at a higher status than what I actually am. I have fake, leather jackets that look relatively expensive and more than what a college student could probably afford. When products are so cheap, I have an innate yearning for more of the same items or to stock up on that particular item. It feeds into the consumerist mentality whenever those desires become reality and my money is used to buy these knockoffs, cheap imitations of original products. In "Knockoffs of Knockoffs: The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy" by Melissa A. Decker, we see that cheaper imitations of original products are so well-made that it's often difficult to distinguish between the real deal and the copy. There is a strong trend of cheap, affordable imitations that is easily accessible to more people with modest incomes. Decker reveals that fashion piracy has strong implications in the way that we destroy entire economies, continue to exploit more cheap labor, and decrease the overall quality of products worldwide due to the prevalence of globalization, the increasing interconnectedness of nation-states and global economies.

"Often the temptation for consumers can be too strong to resist, with many not understanding the risks and ramifications attached to this illicit industry. Buying a counterfeit handbag or pair of jeans, for example, might not be regarded as an illegal transaction - simply a cheaper way to wear the latest fashion goods. However, often little thought is given to how the money may ultimately end up in the hands of organized crime groups or how the industries that rely on legitimate sales suffer" (UNODC 2012). It's time for us all to be more conscientious of our purchasing decisions and how it affects not only our lives but the global economy.

This video has an interesting argument about the ways in which copying can actually be beneficial to the economy under certain conditions.

Inside Source
Decker, Melissa A. "Knockoffs of Knockoffs: The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy". 2004

Outside Source
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "Counterfeit Goods: A Barain or a Costly Mistake"? Accessed December 15, 2012. 

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