Are we ‘materialistic’?

Today is Black Friday, the beginning of the Christmas (shopping) Season, so called because only in the very last 5 weeks of the year do merchants make enough money to get out of the red. (That whole sentence seems like contradicting images to me.) Greed has distorted our society to the point that we can’t make enough money during regular business times, we have to have massive volumes of commerce to be profitable. Greed has distorted our society to the point that shoppers trampled a Wal-Mart worker in New York to death today. Greed has distorted our society to the point that slowing down our consumption to rational levels will ruin the economy and send us into depression.

Greed wants us to go driving our big cars and SUV’s, Greed wants us to go on using our clothes dryers, Greed wants us to continue consuming.  But we have nothing left to spend, our pockets are empty, our credit cards are maxed out, and we owe more on our houses than they are worth.  The economic model has got to change, right now, if our economy is to survive.  We have got to start producing things that other people want, instead of products we won’t even buy ourselves.  We have got to invest some of the enormous wealth that has been accumulated in the last 10 years into reinventing our nation, by improving  energy efficiency, redesigning our schools, and defining the future.

We have the ability to educate every child individually, to the utmost of their potential.  We have the ability to insulate every structure in the nation, to the maximum possible.  We have the ability to begin expanding the sphere of human activities off of this planet.  None of these things would cost as much as we are spending on our military-industrial complex right now, and the investment would be far more rewarding than our defense spending has been.  We cannot continue to borrow money to play world policeman, nor can we expect that other nations will loan us more money to buy their goods when we have no hope of paying them back.

We must invest in ourselves, in our technology, in our potential.  We have incredible potential, to do far more than stage sports extravaganzas.  We can do almost anything we desire, if we can decide what we want.  We have the potential to lift our industrial activities completely off this planet, preserving it for people to be born, to live, and to enjoy their old age.  We have the potential to remake our nation into the most efficient on the planet.  We have the potential to bring knowledge to ever corner of the world, raising standards of living without lowering environmental standards.  We also have the potential to run the world economy into the ground, if we don’t change our ways.

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One Response to “Are we ‘materialistic’?”

  1. yrumpala Says:

    Some thoughts about “sustainable degrowth” : http://yannickrumpala.wordpress.com/2008/09/05/degrowth-as-transition/

    Like

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