I’ve been speaking with a number of friends recently about one of the issues with my generation. I think one of the biggest issues today is brand loyalty, or rather, ownership. Why not just say ownership? Simply because the issue is more than possessing something. There was once an age where people would swear upon a particular brand, no matter much it failed, because they had a good experience and became loyal to that brand. Take my parents’ (Asian) generation, they will swear by Toyota’s cars. For these sorts of people, this brand was always first choice, regardless of cost, quality, etc.

Today, brand loyalty is no longer common. The 21st century shopper slogan is shop around and do your homework. People, spoilt by choice, spoilt by intelligence, spoilt by marketing campaigns, believe that unless you do your homework, you won’t get the best deal. However, it’s more than a shopper’s ideology. This ideology, where brand loyalty no longer has a part, is evident in the way people live their lives. Everything is seen through the eyes of the consumer. Where can I get the best deal – for me?

The result. A breaking down of ownership. People are fine with possessing objects, but they don’t care to support the companies that manufacter them. People are fine with the jobs they have, but they don’t care too much for well-being of other employees as long as it doesn’t affect them and their salary. If that’s not all that relevant, how about the increasing number of people downloading pirated software, movies, and music. It’s there for their use, so why pay for it? The reasons, “It’s not hurting anyone. The programmers, the producers, the artists… they’re rich. They don’t need more money.”

I’m guilty of it. I’ve done it before, plenty of it. Yet, this reality digs deeper as I see the impact that it is having on the world I live in. I won’t go so far to say it is theft, but it is robbing the world of its future. If people don’t see the value of investing in tomorrow, then where will tomorrow be? As parents, do you see the value of investing in your child’s school? Maybe contributing to the Building Fund? Library fund? As adults, do we show people around us that we are willing to pay and invest in the future of tomorrow?

Teaching people about ownership is more difficult that simply giving them more possessions. In fact, this is only going to feed the consumer mentality. Instead, somehow, there needs to be made clear that people need to truly own own the world they live in and be wiling to invest in it. In closing, I’m not saying not to “shop around” and “do your homework” when buying things, be wise with your choices, but when do you buy something, truly own it. This mentality in the way we live our lives is destructive and if there is to be any hope for the future, it needs to change now.

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