Saturday, January 5, 2013

Consuming Passion

In something of a follow-up to my previous brief post about obesity, it is probably worth re-iterating that we are a society that consumes everything, not just food. This becomes very obvious over the holiday period. One could probably psychologise or philosophise about the emptiness within that we human beings are trying to fill by owning (and eating) more and more. I will leave that for another time and to other people. What I want to reflect on today is the economic, rather than the psychological, drive to consume.

I am quite sure that economists will tell us that if we were to stop eating the food we don’t need (and barely even want), or to stop buying the things we don’t need (and barely even want) the economy would collapse, and civilisation as we know it would come to an end. So, in fact, we have a moral responsibility to consume, and consume and CONSUME. It is our duty, as responsible citizens, to keep feeding the economy. So, all you people out there who stop eating when you have had enough, who don’t buy the third or fourth car, who don’t buy the 25 foot television screen – stop being such selfish buggers. Get out there and eat and buy and throw things away.

Of course, it’s always a mystery to me why we ever take anything that an economist says very seriously. Some of their crystal balls aren’t even crystal (at least those who have the most up to date, disposable models). And if by chance they did turn out to be correct and civilisation did collapse (because the dollar was too strong; because the dollar was too weak; because interest rates were too low; because interest rates were too high; because the deficit was too large; because the deficit was too small), well.... there are probably worse things that could happen. Like sitting for 13 hours on a plane next to an economist.

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