October 17, 2013 by John Crapper
Consumerism is alive and thriving in our economies. How many times have we read in business magazines or heard on business programs across this country that the consumer is the driving force behind our economy. Most economists estimate consumer spending as representing roughly two-thirds of GDP or Gross Domestic Product of the entire American economy. If consumer spending drops it is portrayed as an ominous sign of economic trouble ahead. Recession cannot be far behind. When it ticks up it is conversely touted as a leading indicator that the recession may be ending.
“The United States poses the most serious threat of all to human life support systems. It has a gigantic population, the third largest on Earth, more than a quarter of a billion people. Americans are superconsumers, and use inefficient technologies to feed their appetites. Each, on average, uses 11 kW of energy, twice as much as the average Japanese, more than three times as much as the average Spaniard, and over 100 times as much as an average Bangladeshi. In all, humanity’s high-energy activities amount to a large-scale attack on the integrity of Earth’s ecosystems and the critical services they provide. These include control of the mix of gases in the atmosphere (and thus of the climate); running of the hydrologic cycle which brings us dependable flows of fresh water; generation and maintenance of fertile soils; disposal of wastes; recycling of the nutrients essential to agriculture and forestry; control of the vast majority of potential crop pests; pollination of many crops; provision of food from the sea; and maintenance of a vast genetic library from which humanity has already withdrawn the very basis of civilization in the form of crops and domestic animals.” http://dieoff.org/…
So the next time you are in a shopping mall I ask you to walk into any store and examine the aisles and honestly ask yourself the following question: How many of the products you see on the shelves really need to be produced? Before you grab one of those products ask yourself if its purchase is a necessary one. The point to realize is that capitalism is a great clearinghouse to efficiently produce anything that can possibly be produced which someone can be convinced to buy and do it for the best price. It is a terrible system to conserve anything. I think we need to start conserving for the health of ourselves and our economy!
- Paul Ehrlich, a prophet of global population doom who is gloomier than ever (guardian.co.uk)
- What is consumerism with respect to consumer behavior (wiki.answers.com)
- Why We Can’t Spend Our Way Back to Normal (ideas.time.com)
- The Psychology of Consumerism (getrichslowly.org)
Category Capitalism, Consumerism | Tags: Ass-backward consumerism, capitalism, consumer diarrhea, Consumer spending, Consumerism, economy, Gross domestic product, Paul R. Ehrlich, Soft and Fluffy Consumerism