Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Who is in charge of what I need? I want to know.

I would have to say my frustration levels are back up today.

I think it is stemming from the "tide of guilt" that is occurring right now. It is a subtle ripple that happens with almost every conversation. Even while talking to my neighbor last night.

Me - It's crazy how empty town is these days. Right?

Him - Yeah. Well, everyone was buying all this crap they didn't need. Now they can't buy anything.

Me - Well.....what do you expect people to do? Live in tents? People need to be entertained. Of course they are going to buy stuff they don't need.

I actually think I reached my saturation point on this subject at CES. All the hipster doofusy 20 somethings complaining about how consumerism was bad. At a consumer show for christ sakes.

Ah.. yeah. Bad - but not bad enough that you won't find a job doing something else. I bet that guy was sporting a cell phone and laptop.

Now, I'm not going to argue there isn't unnecessary consumption. Yet, if you want to get down to brass tacks - everything outside of food is really unnecessary.

So, it begs the question. What do you expect of this world? Because from where I am sitting, unnecessary consumption has made life almost universally better for people around the globe. Could things be better. YES. Things aren't perfect. Or even remotely close to perfect.

You know.. when I was growing up I rarely remember a time when you didn't see images of starving children. From everywhere! Every single day. Distended stomachs. Horrible suffering. Etched in my brain for all time. Horrible. Does it happen now. Sure. Not even a fraction of a degree as when I was growing up. Certainly there are hot spots. But, plug in world hunger into google, and obesity is now a bigger threat than starvation. Now, that we have the "necessities" mostly out of the way. What are humans to do?

From what I see - from the time humans figured out how to make tools - being productive became ingrained. Is that just going to stop?

In five years, are you happy being in the same spot you are now? With the same stuff, or less. I'm truly curious. Are you willing to give up your stuff, so people say in China, or India, or even Cuba can live the way you do? Or is it okay that everyone has a slightly better standard of living? Even if that means our economy has to go through an adjustment period.

If it isn't okay - in 5 years what do you see yourself doing? There is no more consumerism remember. Same question for ten years down the road.

Because I don't feel guilty. I have a bunch of crap I don't need. Not one ounce of guilt. Because, if humans do not make and consume things - they kill each other.

I'm not going to feel guilty about China. They have become remarkably less hostile towards us since all of our companies started setting up shop there. And they are killing less people. Trade does that. In just 10 years, a middle class in China cropped up. Wasn't just in the Clinton years everyone was up in arms about selling nuclear secrets. Now everyone acts like China has always been our friend. 10 years People!

So, if consumerism is bad - what do you expect from our world?

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