Thursday, December 11, 2014

consumerism 3


If we would listen to gentle souls out to save us from ourselves and as a side bonus save the planet from reckless consumerism ( and I’m not questioning their assumptions that by and large if a billion people go to any lengths to extract every single last drop of oil and every single last gram of ore we are going to do a pretty good job of befouling our biosphere ), we should all gather round an oak tree, link hands, sing kumbiya and swear off SUV’s and McMansions and tasty sides of beef then by gum and by golly we would be a lot happier as would Mother Gaia.  And they wouldn’t be wrong.  The problem is, as soon as we stop being consumers, anybody else on the globe who is getting tired of bean paste and rice and is eyeballing a lobster in the tank in a restaurant window and wants to eat that AND a bucket of KFC for desert.  Nobody is going to downsize for the good of the planet ( even if they do, it is because they first did it to benefit themselves- for instance, when I refuse to drive a personal vehicle it is save money and while that saves a metric butt ton of pollution I still use cause a bit of that killing trees for my books ).  Not that we will be allowed to divorce ourselves from consumption voluntarily ( if the banks force you to drop out as a consumer, you still won’t be allowed to become a producer ).


In the First World, almost all of us have been forced out of a purely producer mode.  It is desired that all of us shall be dependent upon the system, and dependent we have become like it or not.  Even those largely homestead self-sufficient are still forced to have some contribution to the money economy.  Which means you still play by their rules, if only marginally.  Which means, by and large, any widespread movement away from our manacles will be met with by deadly force.  If you don’t believe it, remember what they used to do to homeschoolers.  So rather than fight consumerism by pretending you can be an independent Yeoman farmer, far easier for most of us to consume like there is no tomorrow.  Reduce your dependence on the system as much as possible and put your wages into stockpiling your life raft ( no strategy is perfect and tangible goods are subject to theft- if I had a perfect strategy, I’d be charging for the advice ).  And stop worrying about a meaningless life of consumerism.  Of course it is meaningless.  Until those goods come in handy to survive the die-off.  Then, if that works out for you, you can return to an agrarian ( or nomadic ) producer lifestyle and look back at our Oil Age rampant consumerism wistfully.  But I doubt any of us will miss it.  Latte’s, cell phones, NFL TV packages and endless tanks of gasoline if bought with your sanity and soul don’t trump honest manual labor.  Just don’t buy into the fantasy you are free to do so until after our current circus tent catches on fire and burns down.

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  1. Some of us are being coerced into becoming reluctant farmers now. Chemically laden foods force the concerned to either spend big time $$$ buying organic or into growing our own, for even just a certain crop. I know a lot of people (myself included) who have backyard chicken coops for the eggs - much better eating with about same cost as store bought.

    Otherwise - you wise man Mr. Dakin. Going to take a CME or other catastrophy for most of us to give up 1st world economy. I wonder how many will commit suicide to face a world without Starbucks ?

    1. A world without Starbucks is a much better place. A world without coffee is untenable.

    2. Stash some freeze dried folgers for the future.
      Costco or sams club.

  2. I think intelligent consumerism now (for example buying your raw or processed starches and some proteins) is a good idea. Why buy a cow and all the hassle of having it when you can get a gallon of milk much cheaper (for now).
    But if you need the milk expect the price to keep climbing and prepare with consumerism your alternatives (the powdered stuff for example for milk).
    And for things that there is no good non-industrial alternatives stock up enough now to cover you for the coming decades- Insulation, Glass, Nails/screws, Metal and Plastic building supplies of all sorts. Smokeless gunpowder and ammo supplies.
    The list is near endless- but don't buy (much) of the widely common shelf stable cheap stuff now (no need for a hundred and one pocket knives or Bic lighters for example) - those will be around for decades into the (slow or fast) crash of our civilization.