The Gospel of Consumption
It’s with a degree of dark fascination I watch as the current financial crisis brings substantial funding to the same people who’ve been instrumental in bringing it upon us – and who’ve single handedly manipulated and destroyed the local economies of dozens of countries (see this backgrounder on the food crisis for example).
The cartoon featured here is one of my favourites from the wizard enviro-cartoonist Marc Roberts, and works as a great intro to an article I’d like to draw your attention to, and strongly encourage you to read (see further below).
The potential of true freedom for local communities is being completely undermined by the desire of those with money and power to keep funds flowing through their hands. Natural systems, if well designed and managed, can sustainably provide all of the needs of the human organism (food, water, health, shelter, clothing, social interaction and personal satisfaction). Living within the limits of your local eco-system, with the cooperation of the community around you, threatens centralised, corporate dominance – that we all support to some degree or another – with redundancy.
On this note, the article I’d like to share with you is titled ‘The Gospel of Consumption’. It’s a very readable, well researched examination of how our modern world has come to be based on perpetual consumption and goes a long way to explaining why our modern ‘labour-saving’ machines and gadgets have, instead, seen us working longer and longer hours as each decade passes. I hope you’ll take time to read it, and let us know your thoughts.
what a fantastic gem of a true to life comic…. i absolutely adore it and agree with it a hundred fold..
wonder whats so hard about making things simpler, lets eat apples and be more intune with the reality of the moment
Love the cartoon, so true…The ‘Gospel of Consumption’ is also a very interesting article. I am currently in the middle of a 12 hour shift, and Kelloggs idea of a shorter working day is sounding pretty good to me. If only more businesses today would focus on the greater good the world would be a much nicer place.
I thought about this article for couple of days and I think it explains couple of very important issues. What struck me is that people could actually work less for providing their basic needs, even in the industrial society. The economy could be redesigned so that people could work only 4-6 hours per day. By work I mean something that you do to pay for the rent, food etc. I didn’t realize that shorter worktime could bring such a cultural changes.
An important point that the author makes is that the consumer society can be actually “undone”. If people could spend less time spent at work, they could not only spend more time with their families and friends, but also get involved with participatory democracy in their communities. Lack of time is a big obstacle for democracy. It was surprising to learn about the results of a poll where people said they would like to work less even if it meant less money. It means that the social change could be possible, after all :)