Consumerism is an economic theory that argues that consumer spending is the most important factor driving a country's economic development. Consumerist cultures assess their economic performance by their GDP, and consumer spending successfully boosts that figure. Capitalist economies, like the US, rely on consumer spending and encourage their populations to spend above their fundamental requirements to maintain the economy's continued growth. This article looks at how consumerism functions and why it is ingrained into our society to such a degree.