by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
“We need to increase consumption to grow the economy” is all the government “experts” seem to be able to say and they do not even realize the fallacy that this is.
First of all instead of growing the economy we need to align it to the resources and that means a different approach and secondly we already, in the developed world for sure, consume far too much and have far too much stuff.
We only need to look at the cartoon that I have culled from the Internet as an illustration to realize how out of hand things have gone with consumption. Kids have too many toys and have no idea what to do with them and are whining all the time that they want yet another one and, in truth, the same goes for adults. They too want this new gadget and that one and then they find out that there is yet another one and if they but have that one then they will be happy. Chance would be a fine thing.
Advertising creates needs which are – more often than not – needs at all but wants that help no one bar the capitalists to make more money and the consumer parts with more of his hard earned cash.
Most of us, bar those that really have just about the funds for the bare necessities, have way too much stuff and too many things that we do not need, and often do not even use. It always beats me that people in one single family house have five cars on the driveway when there are only two adult and one teen-age kid of driving age live in the house.
Mist children have more toys that some toy libraries and have no idea what they have got and what to do with them either. But, as soon as a new one is shown in advertising on the TV they scream blue murder that they have to have that one. And the same goes for adults and their gadgets.
People are queuing round the block several times for the latest iPhone when they only got the previous latest one some half a year or so ago. Nothing wrong with the “old” one but they have to have the new one because – well – it is a new one. We have been brainwashed, methinks, ever since about the 1980s in believing that we have to have all the latest stuff even if we do not actually need it.
Instead of growing the economy we need to change the economy from a constant perpetual growth one to a resource-based one as we cannot have growth, perpetual growth, on a finite Planet, with finite non-renewable resources. And it is those finite resource, many of which are reaching or have reached peak, that we are using at a rate of knots for all those new products that advertising brainwashes us into believing will make us happier, more efficient and effective and so much more.
Alas, it is all but smoke and mirrors and a conjuring trick invented by the corporations, and the governments are in cahoots in this, to keep us buying and buying and that is also the reason why the products that are being made today have but a few years lifespan and can – in most instances – not be repaired or if they can be repaired it is several times more expensive to do so than buying new.
What we really must do is to bring well made products back and those must be, as they once were, repairable by simple DIY and, if and when needed, by professional repairers. Not only would that have less impact on the environment but it would, in fact, be good for the economy as it would create, once again, a new – though it isn't all that new really – sector in the economy, that of repair.
In the so-called Communist East Germany, the German Democratic Republic products were repairable and entire kombinats existed geared to repairing everything, from clothing, over bed linen to furniture and everything else. And a great many of the products made in that country many, many years ago were so well made that they still work to this very day, regardless of what the capitalist West may would like us to believe.
Also in the West products, not all that long ago, were made to such high standards that first of all they lasted and lasted and if anything did ever go wrong with them they could be fixed, some by the user with a little ability and in other cases by repairmen and -women. Today, if one can open the product with view to repairing it, and that is often not even possible, then the challenge is that it is, as mentioned before, often far too expensive to carry out the repair in comparison with buying new as the pares are more expensive than buying a new product. This is total madness and must end.
Having products again that last and that are repairable, and repair shops again, would be much better for the Planet, for us, and for the economy, as it would create a complete new, though not really new, as we have already once had it, sector of the economy. The so-called repair shops of today, in the main, cannot really repair, especially not the self-proclaimed shoe menders, for instance who, while they may be able to glue on new soles and such like are almost incapable of resewing the upper of a leather shoe or boot to the midsole (as they do not have a machine that can do it, as I was told). Hand sewing is required in this instance and they cannot do it. And this is just one example.
Let's recap! We cannot keep growing the economy at infinitum as the Planet cannot grow and all non-renewable resources are finite and also our consumption and over-consumption is a problem for the Planet, and that include geensumption, the consumption of green products.
What the we and the Planet need is not a perpetual growth economy but one that is resource-based and we need get back to basics are far as our needs and wants are concerned and learn that most of our perceived needs are nothing but wants artificially created by the advertising industry and the capitalist corporations who pay the advertising industry to brainwash us into believing that we need all those things that they want to sell us.