The Challenge of Consumerism
Now that the financial system seems to be re-shaping and reforming, what can that mean to us, the little guys. Most of us have had it pretty good these last years without much financial pain and certainly not lacking in needs or wants. There is a growing voice that the economy’s future will be decided by what the consumer (you and me) will be doing. Will this insatiable need to buy more and buy often be limited? Will we truly be able to live within our means and keep our minds on purchases that are needed and not wanted. I would hazard a guess here. If anyone of us was to move tomorrow we would find our household absolutely full of stuff that is no longer needed or wanted. Just plain stuff.
We are creatures of habit and not easily changed. Some habits will not change until they become life threatening. I wouldn’t suggest that this day and age is life threatening but when you expect a lot of rain you usually make sure the roof isn’t leaking.
Last month when we were down on Commercial Drive we went into a shop that sold 3rd world items. At the back in a pile of a number of books we found an updated version of a cookbook called “More-with-Less” by Doris Longacre. We had originally purchased this cookbook back in 1976 and could use a new copy to replace our current copy which was falling apart. Here is part of the foreword to this newer edition:
When More-with-Less Cookbook was first published in 1976, Doris Longacre wrote of world shortages of food and of North Americans consuming too much of the world’s resources – money, calories, protein, sugar and processed food. We have not learned.
She is right – we have not learned. Will we have to take another 30 years to learn or are we going to really do something different this time? The problem is that we don’t know anything different. These are the economic cycles that will always exist.