Thursday, July 7, 2011

Consumerism's Dream & Nightmare

If consumerism has a dream, it is ultimately for every person on Earth to own one, and preferably several, of every kind of product created by every kind of company. These products should wear out quickly or incorporate elements of planned-obsolescence, thus requiring constant replacement to maximize profit and create forecastable demand for new products, thereby insuring a constant revenue stream for the small number of global production conglomerates. Consumerism's dream is that each consumer pairs heterosexually and bears a large family of new consumers, and preferably that each consumer gain just enough education to navigate the sea of products, but not to question the why and wherefore of navigating that sea.

If consumerism has a nightmare, it is that each so-called consumer decides to get off the treadmill of acquiring, servicing, warehousing and replacing largely unnecessary material possessions. They decide life is about being creative, caring for and spending time with others, caring for the future of the planet, caring that consumerism's dream is a nightmare for the Earth and all the species - homo sapiens included - dependent on the Earth for their survival. They decide that simple, durable, necessary goods designed for long life and inexpensive repair make more sense than constantly throwing away products that are a long, destructive journey and one small step from the garbage heap the moment they leave the factory floor. They realize that 'reduce, re-use, recycle' is two-thirds lie, and that re-use and recycling use the same (or more) amount of time, resources and energy as producing goods from new raw materials. They decide that 'old' is sexier than 'new' because 'old' means long-lasting, unique and reliable, where 'new' means untested, unknown, taking a risk with precious time and energy better spent on the intangibles life is really about.