Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   No comments
OpEdNews Op Eds

Conspicuous consumption comes out of the closet

By       Message Mickey Z.     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Author 54
Become a Fan
  (6 fans)
My wife and I moved into a new apartment earlier this year. Just a few blocks from our old place, it's been a major quality of life improvement in almost every possible way. One unexpected adjustment, however, was closet space. This moderately sized one-bedroom apartment has only two narrow closets. (You couldn't fit a scandalous skeleton in them if you tried.) Keeping in mind that the building is more than 78 years old, how might we explain this egregious "oversight"? a) The architects were idiots b) The architects callously cut corners c) Americans had far less "stuff" in 1928 d) All of the above Accepting as a given that all humans are idiots that callously cut corners, the can't-miss answer is, of course, D. However, in this particular case, I believe C is far more accurate. In fact, I'll bet the original tenants here considered themselves mighty lucky to even have two closets. They may have believed that whatever didn't fit inside was superfluous. Imagine that: A two-closet existence. Long before shopping became hardwired into human biology, Voltaire said, "When it's a question of money, everybody is of the same religion." That said, it might appear sacrilegious to suggest the two-closet lifestyle during Christmas shopping season. However, we all share the blame for the global costs of our commodity culture. Multi-national corporations may be most obvious villains but shopping malls only survive if they can attract customers. And attract, they do. According to something called "ShopperTrak RCT," sales at 45,000 mall-based stores for the day after Thanksgiving-a.k.a. "Black Friday"-totaled $9 billion (up six percent from last year). Americans bought nine billion dollars worth of video games, jeans, cell phones, flat screen TVs, sneakers, and other "stuff" that would definitely not fit into two narrow closets. The richest one-fifth of the world's humans consume 58% of total energy, use 74% of all telephone lines, consume 84% of all paper, and own 87% of all vehicles. The poorest one-fifth of the world's humans consume less than 4% of total energy, use 1.1% of all telephone lines, consume less than 1% of all paper, and own less than 1% of all vehicles. These stats may imply innocence for four-fifths of us but if you live in America, you are almost definitely a member of the "richest one-fifth" and thus require more than two closets. You are also part of the 1.7 billion people Worldwatch Institute calls the global consumer class-defined as "users of televisions, telephones, and the Internet, along with the culture and ideals these products transmit." In 2004, for example, this group spent $14 billion on ocean cruises and $37 billion on makeup and perfumes. During that same year, $5 billion was spent on universal literacy and $10 billion on efforts to provide clean drinking water for all. The impact of conspicuous consumption on the environment is equally calamitous. "Today's consumption is undermining the environmental resource base. It is exacerbating inequalities," United Nations Development Program (UNDP) declared in 1998. "If the trends continue without change ... today's problems of consumption and human development will worsen." The UNDP concludes: "Runaway growth in consumption in the past 50 years is putting strains on the environment never before seen." So...what's in your closet? Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://ww.mickeyz.net.

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

http://www.mickeyz.net
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon



Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Five reasons why Americans won't resist

The Topic of Cancer

"We need to stop this culture before it kills the planet": A conversation with Derrick Jensen

Myth America: A Stand-up Tragedy

Downsize or Modify? A Conversation with Noam Chomsky

Porn and the CIA (Your tax dollars at work)