October 29, 2014


As awful as our consumer-supported system seems to be these days, at least we still have somewhat of a choice whether we want to participate or not.

We can still choose whether or not we will be conspicuous consumers. We can still choose whether or not we will support, through our spending dollars, current destructive and harmful ways.

I thought of this while reading The Automatic Earth this week. Over there this line of text got me to thinking:

"Central banks can do all kinds of stuff, but they can’t make us spend our money on things we don’t want or need. Let alone make us borrow to do so." 

No, they sure can't. They can't make us work for them, either. They also can't make us work to the degree that we have to pay taxes to support their global domination plans. While I pay taxes in many other ways, I have not made enough money for a decade to have to pay income tax.

I think about that as Canadians' money is being spent to gut environmental legislation, promote fossil fuels and send killing machines to far flung "trouble spots" on the globe.

If you think that you are powerless, just consider the massive portion of the North American economy that is dependent on you and your choices. Consumer spending accounts for a whopping 70% of U.S. economic activity. In Canada that number is roughly the same.

"While harder to document, consumer behaviour is also revealed by decisions not to spend. For example, if enough people are involved, boycotting a company or a product (or even the threat of it) can be an effective way for consumers to make their opinions felt. Boycotting has brought about a number of changes in companies' social and business behaviour... In fact, any consumer decision to stop buying a product can ultimately and substantially influence corporate strategies."

We have choice.


  1. You're right about the power of boycotting - it played a large part in the downfall of apartheid in South Africa. Your cartoon 'ad' gave me a wry smile. I do have a mobile phone, 8 years old, battery no longer lasts a s well as it might, sometimes I know where it is and occasionally it's switched on, it will make phone calls and even texts. Only my husband and a couple of very insistent friends have my number (we have a landline, free to use, we're usually in and if not, they could leave a message). Still, folks get really cross when they can't reach me instantly...The computer I use successfully for work runs on Windows 98. Colleagues who initially chose a different drawing package have to upgrade their computers regularly, because their 'industry standard' CAD supplier have withdrawn support for one which (in my eyes) is still quite new. Our finished product is identical...but it's getting more difficult to find people who are prepared to convert my files. The stranglehold grip of large corporations is massive. I have chosen to work less and have more time but for young people just starting out, it's just not an option not to choose A...cad.

    1. Charlotte,

      I am so low tech that my 82 year old mother in law is more up to date than I am. When we stayed with her on our trip east this summer she wouldn't let us leave without giving us one of her old cell phones for emergency situations. Till then we had never owned one, and had no idea how to use it.

      We put the phone in the glove box of the van and didn't look at it again until we got to our destination. Now we find out that getting a land line in our rural destination is quite expensive and the old cell phone is the affordable alternative.

      In a time of plenty everything becomes disposable. Those days are over. It is good to know there are other low tech folks out there choosing not to be led into wasteful practices. If enough of us said NO things would change fast.

      Speaking of change, my mother in law is waiting for me to learn how to send her a text. Luckily I can access the manual for the old phone on line.

  2. Anonymous10/30/2014

    CharlotteP, hope you come back here. I have a very old cell phone too, REFUSE to upgrade until I absolutely have to. I share many of your frustrations with others not understanding why I continue to use old technology when it works just fine for my needs.

    I found a quick solution to a bad cell phone battery. I searched the number on the back of the battery online. Found lots of them. Ordered one. Cost $3 USD. Holds charge and phone keeps on working for a year now. Got a lot of pressure to upgrade but glad I chose this route. I like to use things until they just can not go any longer.

    Agree totally, we do have a choice. And I do boycott. There is power in non-participation.

    1. Terri,

      That is an excellent idea for keeping your phone going.

      I also enjoy seeing how long I can make things last - it is a challenge considering all the pressure to constantly upgrade and with planned obsolescence making things break down prematurely.

      Simple, sturdy stuff is often the best way to go.

  3. Thanks Terri - will look for the number!

    1. Anonymous10/31/2014

      CharlotteP, Great! I hope this works as well for you as it did for me.
      You are so right about the grip of big corporations. They make decisions to issue new products only to discontinue support for those products very soon after issue....so they can sell more stuff. If we could ever shut off the funding for that kind of corporate business model, things would change.

      One thing I love about this blog is Gregg and Linda are doing a great job educating and gathering some of us together who refuse to participate in the system as much as we possibly can.

      Best of luck with the CAD problem. I respect how you hold off as long as you can.

    2. Terri,

      Resistance is NOT futile.

  4. By not buying, imports, we save money and the environment. buying made in North America provides jobs right here at home. It also saves the fuel on shipping stuff all over the place.

    I started spending more to spend less. How did that work. Well, some women's jeans, made in the U.S.A, were quite expensive, compared to make in China,. I bought 3 pair on sale and that has been it. So I bought a more expensive product, but helped create jobs in North America, got jeans which fit, really well; still look good after 4 years, and that is all I've needed. Because the jeans cost more initially I'm not so likely to purchase them on a whim. Now that I have them, I realize its a much better product and don't want anything less. Same goes for other clothing items. I stopped buying made in third world countries, saves me a bomb. No more impulse buying. a friend of mine can get me through Costco in 30 minutes, with only food purchases. How does she do it, a lot of "made in china", "made in china". Now when I want a pen, I go to the local store and purchase the ones made in France. A pack is about 80 cents to a $ more, but I am assured the worker was paid a decent salary and France does have higher environmental standards than China.

    I doubt if it has much of an impact, but I do feel better. It is not a "great deal" if it is poor quality, you don't need it, comes from a country with a poor environmental and human rights track record.

    You can go to a local men's clothing store and purchase a belt made in Canada. It will be $45, but one is enough. The $12 imports all broke. The $45 belt still looks great and wears well.

    Sometimes it is more cost effective to pay more for better quality and have it last, then buying a cheap import and having it for a few weeks and it looses its "good looks".

  5. A few years ago I realised that one of the ways institutions do try and run your life is that of credit ratings. I used to think (in my innocence) that as long as you paid your bills and had nothing outstanding your credit rating must therefore be good. Not so. My husband informed me the other day that his credit rating has slipped a bit because he now pays his credit card in full each month! He had money owing on it for a while, but always paid at least the minimum each month. Of course the credit card company loved that. They made money out of him. As I have always paid my credit card in full each month I don't get offered the high borrowing amount that he got offered. And I used to wonder why. Now I know! (But I am still not going to borrow money, and I am still going to pay my credit card in full each month! So there, wicked credit reference agencies, I wont be intimidated into borrowings I don't need or want!) But I am still annoyed that fiscally responsible people get penalised in this way.


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