Consumerism, A History

I was recently reading “Your Money or Your Life” that I saw on The Simple Dollar and one part really stood out to me.  Now I am not a conspiracy theorist and I believe that government works toward the good of the American people (well, maybe this doesn’t apply to the current administration).  The book discusses how the American right to consume (whether you’ve got the money or not!) has become more important than any other of our rights.  Yes, the right to buy that gas guzzler has become more entrenched than our right to free speech.  This struck a nerve with me as it seems preposterous. How can buying a flat screen HDTV or an SUV be more valuable than our right to protest?  After thinking about it for a few hours, it started making sense.  We have a president that has done more damage to this country than any other president and yet we don’t force him out of office. We are all too busy paying for our cars and iPods to deal with the very fabric of our country.

This country has been trying to grow our economy as fast as possible and make America a richer and richer nation.  While the economy has been growing ever since we became an independent nation, it seemed to accelerate in the early 1920’s and then launched to rapid acceleration after WWII.  Following the end of the Cold War, America had won the world.  There was not a nation that could compete with our economic growth and power. However, we now face environmental barriers, a growing scarcity of resources and competition from other countries that have embraced the concept of consumerism (i.e. China, United Arab Emirates, etc).   Now, I am not saying the end of America is coming, but I think it is time for us to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we, as a country and model for the world, need to go.

Efficiency is one important concept that we all must think more about. How efficient can that tank of gas in your gas guzzler really be by driving slower? How can I lessen my impact on the world?  How can I spend my money to promote efficiency of resources, money, and longevity?  I think if we looked hard enough, we will see that economies can be sustainable without grow, waste and consumerism.  Its food for thought.

Enter Natural Capitalism.  Coming soon….

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One thought on “Consumerism, A History

  1. Buy more stuff! It’s good for the economy! Get back at those terrorists with a big SUV! That’ll show them. I want to fill my home with so much stuff I can’t even walk. Then I buy a bigger house or expand this one to the border of my property. Raise the ceiling to fit my new TV. Digital of course. Just don’t see how I ever lived with analog.

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