Thursday, November 27, 2008

Praise the Dollar, and Pass the Consumerism

Organizations like Adbusters, (which I will not lower myself to link to) would have you believe that the act of spending money is a crime. That it is some sort of new age sin, an evil that keeps us all from being truly happy. That this message originates in and is preached to its vacuous followers from the security, safety and opulence of the wealthy West seems lost to both the originator and receptors of the message.

We consume, but that is merely the end result. First there is an idea, a spark of creativity or brilliance that stimulates the man. Indeed, to think and create is as human as drawing breath, it differentiates us from animals, it makes our lives worthwhile.

Next the idea is dissected, reduced to component parts, assembled, disassembled tested destroyed rebuilt perfected. This part is often referred to by the creator in such celebrated terms as “a labour of love”. What was that line from the movie “Flash of Genius”? When told that his invention is “just a windshield wiper,” Robert Kearns replies, “To you maybe. To that bartender up there. But to me it's the Mona Lisa.”

Tell me, how do we go from such a life affirming ideal, such a passionate statement to the idea that consuming the products of our creation is a sin?

When the invention is ready the creator enlists the aid of others. Labour is divided to increase our output, to the benefit all the men involved. Those who are hired have their effort rewarded with pay. They in turn support families, they buy other products they need to make their lives better, they consume, they prosper, and they enjoy the fruit of their labour, and the wonders created by other men for their consumption.

What’s wrong with that?

Adbusters would have you believe it is all wrong. They would ask you to not consume, to not enjoy the fruits of your labour, to not celebrate the wonderful time we live in, to toss aside the innovations that have taken mankind from mere existence to a life worth living. They would have you ignore the reality of the economic cycle from create to consume.


Because we consume too much?

Look at the wealth that our consumer culture has created. Even the poorest person in the so called “West” lives like a king compared to the dark days before our consumerism.

In the end I say if the Adbuster folks wish to preach about austerity and curse our consumerism, they ought to have the decency to do it from the slums of Calcutta. Perhaps while wearing a hair shirt… and no shoes. Of course they’ll have to cut down on their exposure, flashy websites, computers and electricity are just so evil… and you can only reach so many people when you are writing your anti-consumer manifesto out by hand on scrap paper and taping it to lamp posts and mail boxes.

I celebrate Reasons Harvest.

Go thank yourself!!!

No comments: