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Journal section "Social and economic development"

Consumer Society and Social Development: Modeling Statistical Relationships

Babich N.S., Batykov I.V.

Volume 15, Issue 5, 2022

Babich N.S., Batykov I.V. (2022). Consumer society and social development: Modeling statistical relationships. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 15(5), 189–202. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2022.5.83.10

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2022.5.83.10

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The article attempts to empirically assess the links between the consumerization process and various indicators of social development. We consider these indicators, as well as the process of consumerization itself, at the macrosocial level, as characteristics of societies. The latter are equated with nation-states, whose sovereignty turns each of them into a kind of long-term social experiment. Based on such “experiments”, we attempted to determine how the degree of expansion of the consumer society in the same countries is related to the indicators of social development. To achieve this goal, we analyze ways to measure the consumerization of societies and their social development, and then conduct a correlation analysis of the available data. It allows testing two competing hypotheses: the negative or positive impact of the consumer society on aspects such as freedom, education, equality, security and happiness. This analysis of statistical relationships suggests that a higher level of consumerization is associated with a higher level of social development, at least on some indicators, such as the level of freedom, gender equality, and subjective well-being. The correlation with these indicators persists even after adjusting for per capita GDP. The presence of statistically significant stable links with social development and the absence of any links with social degradation allows drawing a preliminary conclusion about the refutation of the basic hypothesis of the consumerism criticism and the confirmation of its proponents’ correctness. However, our analysis confirms the connection between consumer society and social development, based on data in a sense formatted by consumer society itself. Therefore, for the final verification of competing hypotheses, it is necessary to develop new, critically oriented quantitative indicators of social development

Keywords

education, safety, social development, correlation analysis, subjective well-being, consumerization, consumer society, freedom, equality, “good society”

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