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.: 12.02.2008 

Excerpts

On why Americans can't buy their way out of the current hole, from Andrew Leonard of Salon.com

"We are a country that is supposedly desperately in need of more shoppers. Consumer spending makes up 70 percent of the economy, and consumer spending is undergoing a sharp, economically destabilizing decline. The less we shop, the worse it gets. No shoppers equals declining profits for businesses equals layoffs equals even fewer Americans with the wherewithal to shop. And so on. This vicious circle has led some observers to declare that shopping is an act of patriotism. Who can forget George Bush encouraging Americans to shop after 9/11? Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can shop for your country!"
...
"First, it's not clear that snapping up discounted flat-screen TVs does anyone much good. Although retailers attempted to make hay out of numbers that showed Thanksgiving shoppers spent more this year than last year, several analysts pointed out, in their best Grinch fashion, that there isn't much profit to be gained for retailers when prices are cut low enough to entice shoppers in a foul economy.

Second, when an economy is in free fall, the truly rational individual decision is to save, pay off your debts and hunker down till the storm blows over. Even if you are debt-free and cash-rich right now, it still might not make much sense to be a red-white-and-blue shopping maniac. All indications are that next year will be worse than this year, and you're going to feel pretty stupid if you do your part for the national economy this Christmas, and then find yourself laid off in January.

Third: Suppose Americans do rush to the mall or Amazon.com this Christmas -- it's still unlikely that they will be able to effectively counteract the current recessionary headwinds. The numbers are just too bad. We are living through no ordinary business cycle downturn -- this has the potential to be the worst recession most of us have encountered in our lives. A reckoning is at hand."

Full article here.

These sentiments spoke to me. Now, I'm probably a little more of a Communist than your average American (hey, at least I recognize that the larger the scale, the more it breaks down), but surely everyone has realized the sad state we've been left in if we all hate our jobs, get paid shit to the them, and gorge ourselves on fantasy in the form of hours and hours of TV and buying things on credit just to feel better about our sad, sad lives. (The best part about that is where the TV encourages you to buy more stuff so that you feel even more awesome! The Devil Himself must have thought this up.)

One of the things that gets me through the day at work, and I by no account have the worst job, is that ultimately my job is to facilitate education. I can only pray that we manage to teach at least one of these jackass students to THINK (because that really is a skill, I promise you) so that they can realize flaws when they see them and mobilize to make changes.

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thus proclaimeth the Zabet  1:50 PM   0 comment(s)

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