Consumerism may mean the essence of a good life due to freedom and happiness as consumers have the sovereignty to choose what they want. Consumerism also means the hunting if better living standards through capitalism and global trade. It also means the social association that seeks to safeguard the consumer against unfair treatment by business people (Citizen Renaissance, 2012). A recent phenomenon on the concept of consumerism is increasingly being used in politics for gaining power. Governments are shifting further away from their role of service provision and as a citizen watchdog. In turn, they are privatizing corporations such that services can be acquired from the private market. In the modern world, people readily and easily take themselves as consumers in the economy and in society at large. The concept of citizenship has gained a fresh view, following a reduction in political engagement, evidenced by low voter turnouts during elections in many liberal democratic systems. In this context, citizenship means the equilibrium between duties and rights, as well as the need to incorporate the views of others while standing on ones grounds. On the other hand, consumers need not be members of society, and do not have to act on its behalf. The reason is that consumers are sovereign beings and unburdened by social duties. Thus, the idea of consumer and citizenship has a different meaning historically. Though the terms consumer and citizen are essentially different, the political background brings the two in the convergent discourse. Political actors recast the two concepts in different approaches. One approach seeks to transform the citizen into a consumer while the other approach seeks to stretch the consumer into a citizen. The right wing economist seeks to change a citizen into a consumer using the expression that a consumer is the hero. The left wing economists enlarge the consumer view into a responsible consumer. A responsible consumer thinks ahead of has to forgo personal happiness for the society wellbeing. The right wing economist uses the expression “votes” and “ballots” to assimilate citizens into their view of consumers. Hence, citizens make their choices in the marketplace, which essentially becomes a substitute for political discussion (Collins & Cradden, 2004). The expression Big Society addresses the question of what society does as opposed to what the state does. The Big Society seeks to strengthen and renew the civic society starting with the agency of an individual citizen and not with the state/government. The inherent predicament is how the government can make it ensue if does not have to compel its own dictats on the process (Citizenship Foundation, 2010). However, this may be solved through push and pull mechanism. The push comes from the state acknowledging less duty for the nature of local communities and thus diffusing power back to the people. The “pull” results from generating the demand of local citizens from more control and self determination. The contemporary goals of building a Big Society are focused on a mix of the government doing less for citizens, thus stimulating their sovereignty. In addition, the government uses stimulus to create local capacities to enhance self management among citizens. This implies permitting people to handle the social ills in facing them. The practice of Big Society results in the absence of best practice and inequality of
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Number: University: Course: Date: Do people consider themselves consumers ahead of citizenships now? Or is the "Big Society" just another way of saying citizenships? The expression of the word consumer has a diverse meaning depending on the context in which the word is used…
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