Showing posts with label Consumerism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Consumerism. Show all posts

Monday, November 28, 2011

Altar of Consumerism

It's become a religion, thou shall pay homage to the God of Black Friday. With unemployment and economic uncertainty persisting one would think that consumers would be hunkering down in their bunkers, but, no, they are out spending in droves, standing in the dark with their faces aglow staring into iPhones, awaiting midnight store openings after Thanksgiving, stampeding into the stores as the clock strikes twelve. Perhaps it is counter-intuitive, $52 billion in sales on Black Friday weekend during hard economic times, but consumers have been conditioned to "feel good" spending, the same kind of feeling that arises from cathartic prayer.

Our Father™ in consumer heaven,
hallowed be your trademarked name.
Your Black Friday come,
your buying will be done,
at the mall and online.
Give us this day almighty bargains,
and forgive us our debts,
and give bailouts to our debtors.
Leading us away from credit card temptation,
and delivering us from debit card fees.

AMEN (there is even an App named for the traditional closing of a prayer -- just pay up!).

Friday, September 17, 2010

The More Things Change....

Welcome to the twilight zone. When I read stories such as Microsoft possibly borrowing to increase its dividend and stock buybacks, I see it as just another sign of the American economic system gone wild. There was once a day when companies borrowed money to finance expansion for the production of goods. Now we borrow to pay shareholders or make titanic bonuses to executives. Or we finance our deficit by borrowing from China to keep the American consumer, AKA Hamster on a Wheel, buying at the local official distributor of goods made in China (and other emerging countries), Wal-Mart. But even with interest rates at all time lows, we cannot create borrowing demand in housing, or small business so unemployment remains intolerably high.

In the past I’ve written about many of the pieces of the economic conundrum we’ve created for ourselves, the problem of job creation, the local government crisis, the underfunded pension guarantees, entitlements, banking bailouts, the inflation/deflation tug of war, and in general our consumption oriented society. In fact, while everyone feels a little better as we have thrown so much $$ at the economy to keep it afloat, repair some damage to everyone’s 401Ks, the really major challenges lie ahead, and in one of the more divisive political environments as the midterm elections loom. The more things change, the more they stay the same…. Alphonse Karr