I was sitting in math class staring at the kid in front of me trying to finish his final with the remaining time. Summer was about to officially take off, but no one would hear me cheer when the final bell rang. Summer used to be my favorite time of the year— swimming, tanning, friends, not a care in the world.
Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it. They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. For thirty seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.
Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence breaking quickly or perceived obsolesence becoming unfashionable.
But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine t-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped i-phone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog: They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away.
The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness.
When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production 2. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.
People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility 3. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish.
This is pathological consumption: Inthe journalist Adam Welz records, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. This year, so far, have been shot 4. No one is entirely sure why.
But one answer is that very rich people in Vietnam are now sprinkling ground rhino horn on their food or snorting it like cocaine to display their wealth. This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it.
World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending.
When every conceivable want and need has been met among those who have disposable moneygrowth depends on selling the utterly useless. The solemnity of the state, its might and majesty, are harnessed to the task of delivering Terry the Swearing Turtle to our doors.
Grown men and women devote their lives to manufacturing and marketing this rubbish, and dissing the idea of living without it.
The growth of inequality that has accompanied the consumer boom ensures that the rising economic tide no longer lifts all boats. The old excuse, that we must trash the planet to help the poor, simply does not wash.
For a few decades of extra enrichment for those who already possess more money than they know how to spend, the prospects of everyone else who will live on this earth are diminished.
So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule. When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.
See the film Blood in the Mobile.Oh, I can relate to this on so so many levels. A very similar thing happened to me when I was 18 weeks pregnant with my first child (a son). The doctor found a tumor on one of my kidneys.
My gift to my great-grandson, Matthew, on his first Christmas was a toy airplane that he could ride. It had flashing lights and a hidden compartment under the seat.
When that one-year-old saw it, he lit up. me too!
we had too make a flip book thing about the sequences of this book! I forgot to grab a book out the door, and i was searching all over the web for the script.. all i could find was the audio, and i didn't want to listen to the whole book again.
Landon was born full-term weighing g or 7 lbs. 7 oz, born by urgent cesarean due to fetal intolerance to labor after the water had broken. A gift economy, gift culture, or gift exchange is a mode of exchange where valuables are not traded or sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards.
This exchange contrasts with a barter economy or a market economy, where goods and services are primarily exchanged for value received. Social norms and custom govern gift exchange.
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