I have a friend who lived in Japan for a little while, and he told me the consumerism there is just as bad as it is in the West. It functions differently, but there's still this obsession with buying and with accumulating possessions. And he said it was more pronounced there than it is in the U.S., at least in his eyes. Now that China has a booming middle class and upper class, consumerism is similarly booming. I don't think it's a Western thing, I guess is what I'm saying. Or at least not anymore. Though I haven't been to China or Japan myself so for me this is all second-hand. Though maybe you could make the argument that they're emulating Western culture, in which case it is a Western thing. I dunno. In any case, consumer culture is global at this point.
Also, I remember bringing up the subject of sweatshops some weeks ago and a few people saying they really aren't that bad. Perhaps the majority in places like China aren't that bad, but there are still a huge number that are, and this factory collapse in Bangladesh makes that clear. Again, though, you run into the quandary of whether it's better for someone in a poor part of Bangladesh to work in a sweatshop or to have make a living doing something like scouring trash heaps or selling their bodies. It's a really sad situation with no easy solution.