Presiding the inaugural conference of the international forum 'Pensando el Siglo XXI', 'La Edad de la Hipermodernidad, Cultura Individualista y Cultura Consumista' (Thinking the XXI Century; The Age of Hypermodernity, Individualistic Culture and Consumer Culture), Gilles Lipovetsky expressed that "in the 50s, the world experienced the first consumer society that led to the first modernity, characterized by group and family consumption.
"We are in the age of the intensification of modernity, this is the second modernity and is not the end of it. Now consumption is individualistic and extreme, to the point that we buy to generate envy and demonstrate our ability to acquire," explains the author of 'La Era del Vacío' (the Era of Emptiness),
referring to the three axes of the universe and society today: Tecno-science, market and the democratic individual.
He adds that men are the authors of their world and must modify and build it bearing in mind the general interests, so it is up to parents and educators to give tools to young people and society so that they don't have supermarkets as ideals, because he considers that the ideal should be to create and build new things, beyond the need of having and consuming.
In his speech, the French philosopher pointed out that when there are no locks, no limits, we enter the hyper of any aspect, and emphasizes that overconsumption society today is focused on individualism. "We went from a consumption that was already individualistic to a hyper-individualistic one. Everyone in the family has their own TV to watch alone the programs of their choice, each family member has its own smartphone, its own computer, its own tablet. From a consumption focused on homes, as it was in the 50s, we passed to a consumption centered on the individual."
To support his theory of hyperconsume, Lipovestky argues that 70% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the United States and 60% of GDP in France, is obtained by household consumption, which means that growth is not driven by the mines, the industry, but by household consumption.
Lipovestky assures that social classes have not disappeared but instead they have accentuated with globalization. "The rich are richer and the miserable are more miserable. There are no class cultures, which means that before, the poor wanted to survive, but now we want brands, trips; if we have don't money, we steal in order to get what we want, all of this because of hedonism and consumerism promoted by the mass media and social networks."
He warns that the need of having each time more, is generating high levels of depression promoted by the spiral of consumption in which we live in.
For the sociologist, if there is a decisive factor in today's reality is the actual individualist society, because he considers that family today exploded with divorce, the disappearance of large families, with single mothers, gay marriages and a number of features that have removed of the family its character of authority and as dominant factor in society. "We are witnessing today the shift of model that makes family not impose, we are in the family deregulation and in the 'a la carte' logic of each individual according to their exclusive needs."
He concluded saying that we need to make win the responsible individualism, give men more tools, especially knowledge, so that everyone can choose their life and
make their contribution, considering that men has to create the future of the XXI century.