A Producer Mindset as an Alternative to a Consumer Mindset

A Producer Mindset as an Alternative to a Consumer Mindset

Homer B. Warren (Youngstown State University, USA) and Linette Stratford (Youngstown State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6120-0.ch015

Abstract

Consumer mindset (or consciousness) promotes childlike behaviors and inhibits intelligent decision making needed for human wellbeing. Producer mindset (consciousness), on the other hand, promotes intelligent decision making, autonomy, self-efficacy, individual empowerment, and overall wellbeing. This chapter gives an overview of the difference between the two types of consciousness, provides language to nurture a producer consciousness, and illustrates the benefits of replacing consumer consciousness with producer consciousness.
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The Consumer

Words are powerful. Words used in conversation with others and in self-talk affect the quality of one’s life and relationships. Though words can enlighten, they have the power to make people feel worthless, helpless, hopeless, insignificant, fearful, and childlike. The authors propose that the word consumer be at the top of the list of powerful words. In many developed cultures around the world, people effectively live 24/7 under the word consumer. If we are not in the physical or electronic marketplace buying things, we are thinking about buying things, having conversations about buying things, having conversations about the things we’ve bought, subjecting ourselves to a media filled with persuasive messages to buy things, or using the things we’ve bought. The profound American ideas of freedom, liberty, justice, and equality have been reduced to the freedom to choose and buy things in the marketplace. The word consumer has morphed America’s pursuit of happiness into pursuing emotional pleasures from material possessions.

Neuropsychologist Antonio Damasio (1994) says that people are driven by emotions before rational thinking kicks in. When higher thinking powers do operate, they mostly rationalize and justify desires, greed, envy, fear, and other manifestations of the lower reptilian and mammalian brain functions that operate purely on the basis of pleasure/pain, approach/avoidance, and fight/flight. Though classical economics sees the “rational man” as the antecedent of capitalism and our consumer culture, Damasio is saying the rational part of buying products is secondary to the emotional attachment to the products.

Damasio raises an interesting idea. Emotion before thinking is how infants operate. Could it be that an adult’s product buying decisions are no more than an infant’s disposition and decision-making based upon Wow-Ugh? Are consumers navigating marketplaces with a child’s “I Like – I Don’t Like” decision-making? Are the millions of advertisements on cable programs, websites, billboards, magazines, newspapers, and in-store promotions playing to the infant within? Benjamin Barber (2007) thinks so. Barber calls it infantilization (adults made to act childlike).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Feelings: Physiological (bodily) sensations produced by the cranial system relative to inputs from objects (people, places, things, and ideas) one encounters. Feelings run from negative to positive (e.g., anger, disgust, hatred, love, compassion).

Human Producer: The human being that uses his/her brain, body, and mind to make, construct, develop, and carry out all behaviors, activities, interests, and opinions.

Consciousness: The quality or state of being aware of something within oneself and of the inputs from/about objects (people, places, things, or ideas) in the world.

Inputs: The outputs of humans, nature, and organizations that are encountered by the five senses (sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch).

Human Outputs: All behaviors and what humans do (e.g., activities, interests, opinions).

Actions: The Specific physiological activities (actual body movements) produced relative to inputs from objects (people, places, things, and ideas) one encounters. Many actions result from habit and training.

Vector: A memory timeline that contains all of the inputs from/about a specific object (person, place, thing, or idea).

Thoughts: The collection and arrangement of words produced by the cognitive components of the brain-mind to identify, analyze, describe, rationalize, justify, and/or give meaning to feelings, actions, and reactions for inputs.

Human Production Chain: The process of producing a human output that in turn becomes an input that is used to produce another human output that becomes an input used to produce another human output, etc.

Consumer: The party who exchanges monetary value for the goods and services provided by organizations.

Reactions: The instinctual and autonomic biological (e.g., respiratory, circulatory, dermatological) changes produced by the cranial system relative to inputs from objects (people, places, things, and ideas) one encounters.

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