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Friday, February 21, 2020

The Crabby Capitalist

Aside from driving the engines that can propel modern economies, what are some tangible benefits to consumerism?

I suspect this question might strike ardent capitalists as misguided or naive - at best - or stupid and not worthy of a response. I suppose that's fair. But this crabby - and less than ardent - capitalist has trouble identifying benefits outweighing the most pernicious downsides to consumerism. To wit:

* The stuff we end up throwing away. Into the landfill go things unable to be repaired, newer versions of older toys, outdated fashions, etc.

* The way we accept the assault of messaging. How often do any of us stop to consider what we need vs. what we're continually told we should want? What price do we pay when we allow ourselves to be persuaded that a certain pen, purse, or car will confer some sort of status? And what happens to our relationships with others when we forget that status is imaginary?

* The day-to-day creep of consumer-driven decisions. Is it safe to say that some of us take - and then sometimes stay in - a job that we don't like much partly because of what we want to buy? Anyone not independently wealthy needs work in order to make money to live and meet basic needs. But in my experience, consumerism can distort even that simple proposition.

Irony may intrude on today's crabby rant since I'm now considering the purchase of an analog watch. Yeah, another defunct Fitbit - less than three years old - headed for that landfill, vs. the last analog that lasted more than ten years. Though I sometimes enjoyed knowing how many steps I'd taken each day (was I somehow persuaded that was critical info?), that's not reason enough to re-buy yet another device that ... a.) needs to be regularly charged and synced periodically to a laptop or Ipad and ... b.) can track my whereabouts. Or, maybe I'll forego the new watch. Ever notice how many clocks there are everywhere?


  1. Right on! I have too much stuff and am constantly seeking ways to pare down. One thing I have done in terms of my wardrobe, is to donate at least one item of clothing to charity for every new item I purchase. I too am concerned about what ends up in landfills. So many products are not made to last more than a few years. I just had a Cuisinart chopper bite the dust. It is something I use a lot so I had to buy a new one but you can bet it wasn't another Cuisinart!

  2. Ines; I use the same idea when I buy something - i.e. give something else away. Thanks for the comment.