October 7, 2019

Keep Buying, Everything Will Be Fine

Don't worry. Keep buying, and be happy... sort of.

I keep hearing that "the consumer is doing the heavy lifting" for the economy, that they are "holding up", and "aren't fatigued yet". Isn't this backwards?

I remember a time when the economy worked for the people, existed for the people, functioned for the people. Now, the people work for the economy. Now, nothing is more important than the economy.

So we get the following situations:

The environment is generally collapsing... but the consumer is still buying.

Manufacturing is down... but the consumer is still buying.

There is a "Retail Apocalypse"... but the consumer is still buying.

There is a global political crisis... but the consumer is still buying.

Depression and suicide have reached depressing proportions... but the consumer is still buying.

We are getting fatter and less fit... but the consumer is still buying.

Everything is breaking down, but not to worry - the consumer is still buying.

If I understand this correctly, as long as we keep buying, everything will appear to be fine. The only disaster that could befall the world that would actually matter is if The Consumer stopped buying. 

If The Consumer even dared to slow their acquisitional frenzy, there would be an immediate emergency declared that would require special and intense activity to repair. 

We would need to really DO something in that case. We wouldn't want to put the billionaire lifestyle at risk now, would we?

"I buy, therefore I am", will be the new motto to live by if the economic manipulators get their way. Today's Consumers will be tomorrow's Buybots.

So don't worry about all those pesky and unimportant emergencies scientists and environmental activists keep making up, just keep buying. 

Everything will be fine. Well, the economy will be fine, at least, and what is more important than that?

That is the system as it exists, and I'm not buying it. Our planetary community needs something better, and soon.


  1. Most all economists say that most everything hinges on consumers to keep buying. It's the theme of every article I read about the economy and NPR story involving anything to do with the economy or state of the nation/world I hear. Everywhere it seems buying is the most important thing of all. Save the economy above all else. It is our highest priority they say.

    If only we could collectively wake up and refuse to buy. The buyers literally have the power to bring it all down to make way for something new which is the main theme of NBA and why I like it here. That's a bunch of power folks.

    1. So right. Votes are only tallied after elections. How we spend our money is tallied every second of every day, year in, and year out. That IS a bunch of power, if only we got our collective shit together and used it to make the changes we would like to see.

      China knows how to wield that power. When they don't like what they see or hear from a company, organization, or country, they stop buying. And the shit hits the fan immediately. Then changes are made to appease them and get them to continue buying once again.

      There is something to learn there.

    2. Good point about China.

  2. Anonymous10/08/2019

    Many years ago when the word 'consumers' started popping up in the news I knew we were in trouble. I cannot for the life of me imagine what people are buying all the time. Well, yes I can, I've browsed a few clutter clearing videos and my jaw was on the floor. My mother and grandmother would be astonished were they here to see it. But it seems to be the new normal.

    Gregg, I think there is real trouble ahead and it's not far away. I think there will be a crash and most people won't be expecting it. I shiver as I watch house interest rates plummeting and buying escalating. Didn't we learn anything from the GFC?

    Aside from what the economy is doing, weather events are going to change things dramatically for people. Businesses are very affected in my area, including mine, and this patten will continue and spread as more and more regions feel the impact of fires, droughts and storms. My own income has been cut in half and for anyone who doubts that they should stop spending and be debt free I can tell you, it has not impacted our lives at all. Of course it was concerning when it started, but then we realised actually nothing has changed because we are not 'consumers' we are citizens living below our means. We weren't always that way! So I say stop buying, be prepared and let the economy fail. We will weather it and hopefully the earth can then begin to repair herself. Plant a garden, bake a cake, darn your socks ;-)


    1. Anonymous10/09/2019

      I think we went from being 'citizens' to 'consumers' the same time that people in elected office went from being 'public servants' to 'politicians'. And as the US political situation shows now, politicians are definitely not public servants.

      I baked a cake the other day, have a box of socks that will be mended soon, donated my 25 year old sewing machine to charity because my sister is giving me her 10 year old machine as she has a new one (reuse reuse!). My yard too shaded for much of a garden, but this summer I did grow some snap peas, basil, leaf lettuce, and oat grass for my indoor cats.

      Thank you to Gregg, Linda and the NBA community for continuing to remind me of what is truly

      - Mary

    2. Anonymous10/09/2019

      Mary, I have a feeling our politicians in Australia used to be called public servants when I was a kid - terrible that the change slid in without me noticing. Language is such a powerful thing. Here credit card and cash card bank accounts are named 'credit' and 'savings' - what those words truly mean is 'debt' and 'spending'! Or the use of the word 'investment' piece to describe a hand bag! Words are keeping people poor and in debt. I once commented on the use of the word investment for a handbag and my comment was promptly deleted!!


    3. Madeleine,

      What if all the products that did not contribute to creating a better world were taken off the market? What would be left to sell and buy?

      I love that your income was slashed, but it did not affect your lifestyle. Awesome. That is good planning.

      Linda and I have always lived below our means, right from the moment we got together. It allowed us to escape the system before the traditional retirement at 65. I started pulling back at 40 when I quit my full time teaching position. My income plummeted, and life got better. Go figure!


      That is a very keen observation about public servants vs politicians. It is a linguistic shift that I have not been paying much attention to. Now I can't unsee it.

      Sewing is such a useful skill that enables one to get away from the fast fashion industrial complex, whether by repairing, or by making your own clothes. My favourite clothes were made by Linda's sister. She uses hemp fabric to create comfortable and durable pieces that have done me well for years.

    4. Anonymous10/10/2019

      Gregg, the way you and Linda got off the treadmill has been a huge inspiration to me. You have shown what 'values based' living really looks like.


    5. Madeleine,

      I consider it to be a mutual inspiration situation with you and us. And thank you - values based living is important to us.

  3. Agree with post and above comments!! Mary you hit it on the head with "I think we went from being 'citizens' to 'consumers' the same time that people in elected office went from being 'public servants' to 'politicians'. And as the US political situation shows now, politicians are definitely not public servants."

  4. This discussion made me think of the Pete Seeger quote “If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.”

    1. That quote contains words to live by. There used to be a time, not so long ago, that a companies contribution to the betterment of society was something that was considered.

      No positive contribution would mean no corporate charter.

      We should start dissolving the corporate charters of firms that have committed crimes, or harmed people or the planet.

      People make the charters, and people can unmake the charters. I think it rarely, if ever, happens.


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