Thursday, February 12, 2009

What is the opposite of consumerism?

Today I am going to the Library to borrow some books. I used to go to library all the time back when the economy was in a similar downturn. Of course that was in 1982 and I was in High School. For years i didn't take stuff out of the library because it felt like a scam. Like I was scamming the library.


Now that the incredibly bloated and unsupportable economy is deflating like a balloon (complete with farting noise) I'll be forced to stop doing foolish things with my money and time. I've noticed for a long time that consuming entertainment and distraction always kept me from creating entertainment. Artists don't watch much TV as a general rule.

If you take TV and movies off the schedule and also take off shopping (cuz there ain't no money) that leaves more time to exercise, meditate, talk to people, read and write.

Sounds good, donut?

There was a national moment almost 30 years ago when we were presented with a stark choice.

President Jimmy Carter basically said that consuming more and more stuff was not sustainable and not good for the spiritual health of the country. Ronald Reagan said we could have whatever we wanted. We (and by we I mean people who are over 58 now who voted then...not me) chose the easier route back then and now we're facing the consequences of that choice. It's not a straight up political choice but really a moral choice. It's pretty obvious that a big part of our current economic problem stems from financial institutions choosing short term profit over prudent risk management. A big part of our foreign policy problems spring from a lack of investment in sustainable energy sources since the energy crisis 35 years ago. (Imagine where we'd be if we'd continued a prudent national investment in alt fuel R and D during all that time.)

The funny thing is that a lot of people I talk to see this recession/depression as a good thing for our national soul. I'm looking at bleak choices and I think its could be a good thing.

(Of course I live in Los Angeles where our homeless population lives on the beach and mostly doesn't freeze to death at night.)

Go to the library. Take the bus. Cut off the cable. Play scrabble with friends and family. Share what you have and ask for help when you need it.


  1. Once again, you're "spot on" in my book!

    On the alternative energy stuff, as I understand it, other countries have benefited from what was developed here in the Cater era, when there were incentives for finding solutions. We have let it languish, while they have continued from there. I've lost the specifics on this, but there was a great NPR discussion some months ago now, covering this and other energy issues.

    I would add, "Ride your bike" to your ending there.

    Enjoy the library! (I'll be working at ours later today, but not biking there, since I'm a cold weather wuss.)