On the surface, the concept of commercialism refers to little more than the application of free market or capitalist principles to some aspect of the business world; this often takes the form of advertising or corporate control over a product or service. However, the term “commercialism” is often used in a negative context, referring to all the problems that can emerge when the principles of unbridled capitalism dominate in a specific area.
Commercialism is often linked to the exploitation of human and natural resources for the sheer sake of profit. When large corporations are able to work the system in such a way that they keep workers at part-time status, preventing the expenditure of things like benefits and health insurance subsidies, and when they can outbid each of their competitors due to their sheer volume and buying power, they are able to maximize their profits at others’ expense. Employees who are required to take multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet, only to find themselves struggling further when they have no health insurance coverage, are an acceptable expense in the name of commercialism. Driving small mom-and-pop businesses out of existence, while indicative of commercialism, is indicative of the cutthroat nature of the very practices of this trend. While there can be some benefit passed on to consumers – lower prices, more access of goods, etc. – on the whole, the negative traits associated with commercialism far outweigh the positive ones.