American consumerism. Time for a change

Brian_1349

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Gratitude Good for Your Wallet and Your Soul David DeSteno

There are two opposite views on dystopian future of the humanity. The first is control-obsessed fascist state portrayed in “1984”. The second is much more interesting to me. “Brave New World” is not about direct control and domination of the state, it is about humanity’s inability to remain human beings. Human nature fails to sustain intself and people transform to lazy and passive animals as a result.

Consumerism is the best portrayal of Huxley’s ideas. Americans of the XXI century do not care about their country, the future of their own kids and great ideas we’ve once had as a nation. I am not against capitalism as it is the only viable economic system we have right now but without reasonable limitations we are going to shrink in senseless consumption without an end. Look at statistics:

  • The average credit card debt per cardholder is $5,100, and expected to increase to $6,500 by the end of the year.
  • The average consumer carries 4 credit cards. While the average household carries $6,500 of debt.
  • 4.5 percent of cardholders are 60 or more days late in their payments.
  • Roughly 2 – 2.5 million Americans seek the help of a credit counselor each year to avoid bankruptcy.

Don’t you think these figures demonstrate the beginning of economic collapse that ig going to destroy our nation from within? Being a senseless consumption machine our society is not getting anywhere.

 

Sonny Clark

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Gratitude Good for Your Wallet and Your Soul David DeSteno

There are two opposite views on dystopian future of the humanity. The first is control-obsessed fascist state portrayed in “1984”. The second is much more interesting to me. “Brave New World” is not about direct control and domination of the state, it is about humanity’s inability to remain human beings. Human nature fails to sustain intself and people transform to lazy and passive animals as a result.

Consumerism is the best portrayal of Huxley’s ideas. Americans of the XXI century do not care about their country, the future of their own kids and great ideas we’ve once had as a nation. I am not against capitalism as it is the only viable economic system we have right now but without reasonable limitations we are going to shrink in senseless consumption without an end. Look at statistics:

  • The average credit card debt per cardholder is $5,100, and expected to increase to $6,500 by the end of the year.
  • The average consumer carries 4 credit cards. While the average household carries $6,500 of debt.
  • 4.5 percent of cardholders are 60 or more days late in their payments.
  • Roughly 2 – 2.5 million Americans seek the help of a credit counselor each year to avoid bankruptcy.

Don’t you think these figures demonstrate the beginning of economic collapse that ig going to destroy our nation from within? Being a senseless consumption machine our society is not getting anywhere.

An economic collapse has been in the works for many years now. It's a work in progress. While the purchase of big-ticket items have somewhat declined due to the continued recession/depression, people are still taking vacation trips, going out to eat, going to the movies, joining bowling leagues, and buying impulse items, all on borrowed money, usually credit card debt. The same can be said of our government. Our government borrows money each and every day just to keep itself running. We are not a self-supporting citizenry, nor are we a self-supporting nation. Presently, government debt is the only catalyst keeping this nation afloat.

When people talk about how well the stock market is doing, they forget that the stock market represents as many foreign investors and traders as it does Americans. The infusion of foreign money boost corporations, the stock market, and venture capital to finance expansion and to turn small businesses into giant corporations. If we research foreign ownership, or partial ownership, of American businesses, we'll find that more than a few are funded and supported by foreign money. The stock market is also greatly influenced and supported by foreign financial institutions and banks. This tells us that the over all U.S. economy is dependent on outside sources in order to maintain the appearance of growth and economic stability.

If we look further into big-ticket items such as homes, commercial real estate, vehicles, major appliances, and luxury items such as expensive jewelry, private planes, yachts, and country club memberships, we find run-away debt by both the rich and the average hard working clock punching middle class. Cash has become a rare "lay-down" at the cash register. Over the past 25 plus years, plastic has become the standard pay method between seller and buyer. And, as it's been analyzed and written about many times, using plastic to purchase goods and services can double the price over the course of the loans.

Another economic disaster not often mentioned, and one that's been in the making for many decades now, is the steady cash flowing to foreign countries through consumer purchases here in our own economic network of product suppliers and the retail sector. When we buy foreign made goods, some of the money leaves this country.This produces a negative cash flow due to the non-circulation of that cash between producer and consumer. In other words, when we buy American made goods, that produces are positive cash flow within our own economic network between producer and consumer. Eventually, if not controlled or restricted, the out-going cash flow to foreign economies will snowball until all or most of our purchases are foreign made. This will adversely affect everyone from Main Street America to American businesses, and all the way to Wall Street and beyond.

If we consider the number of citizens receiving some form of government assistance, and track the steady increase in number, we can also understand consumer debt and the relatively weak retail sector. Debt can not sustain itself indefinitely. Credit cards are financial risk for both the user and issuer alike. Yes, we buy wants instead of needs, and in doing so, we often times create our own financial misery. But, on the other side of the coin, our purchases support the retail sector, which in turn supports manufacturing, suppliers, and the banks. If we purchase necessities only, the decrease in cash flow would devastate the economy in a matter of months. Of course there are solutions that would make everyone happy, but the chances of changing our economic structure at this stage is nil to none.

In most cases, debt is a curse, and seems to increase on its own. And, in some cases, debt is necessary and a very important vehicle in the grand scheme of things.The problem lies in the type of debt, the reasons for the debt, and the terms of the debt. If debt is the result of desperation and panic, then it's a good bet that it'll come back to haunt the borrower at some point in the future. Debt used wisely, can be a very beneficial instrument for both the consumer and the business sector alike. In my opinion, debt has already put an economic collapse in motion, and little if anything can be done before the chickens come home to roost. I believe that it will happen on both the consumer level and the federal level. In addition, the business sector is already feeling the economic pain.
 

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