Consumerism vs. Cultivation

Consumerism has nearly run its course, devouring everything in its path and bringing humanity to the brink. Luckily, there is an antidote to this century-old practice, and it’s gaining steam.

Anthony Fieldman
10 min readNov 13, 2021


Cultivation, old-style © Anthony Fieldman 2018

Over the past three years, I have become increasingly disappointed in capitalism. It’s not that I’ve landed on the wrong side of the equation. I am squarely on the “winning” side. So, my misgivings aren’t fueled by personal feelings of exclusion or hardship. They are fed by an increasing awareness about the extent of destruction capitalism has caused to everything in its wake — that we have caused with our wake.

Our current course was set early. About 100 years ago, capitalism as a theoretical system metastasized into something existentially dangerous to people and planet, transforming both relentlessly in the process, and continuing to accelerate, today.

That “thing” is consumerism; and we are all co-conspirators.

Describing consumerism in her book, Flux, April Rinne shines a light on this mindset:

“Previously we were seen as human beings, whose job was to contribute to society and help others. With the advent of consumer mass marketing, we became seen as consumers whose principal job is to consume. A new, consumer-driven script was born.

Until recently, consumption did not boost gross domestic product (GDP); it killed you. —April Rinne

And yet, the original meaning of “to consume” is “to destroy” — as in “consumed by fire.” Until recently, consumption did not boost gross domestic product (GDP); it killed you. In English, consumption is another word for tuberculosis. In Latin, consummare means used up, wasted away, finished.

Roughly one century later, this consumer destruction proceeds apace: our pocketbooks are depleted, and the planet is at risk of wasting away.

We’re told to keep following this old, crusty, dangerous script in order to keep the economy intact. Consume, consume, consume!

In today’s world, we’re seen first and foremost as consumers: or as futurist…



Anthony Fieldman

Architect | Photographer | Writer | Philosopher | Polyglot | Windmill Jouster | Nomade Civilisée