Sunday, December 7, 2008

The stupidity of “Buy Nothing” anti-consumerists


Congratulations, “Buy Nothing” supporters, you got what you wanted this Christmas.
For years, your motley coalition of anti-consumerists has been trying to persuade people to stop buying stuff. You derided consumerism, saying it was bad for society and the environment.
Now, you’ve got your wish and can enjoy what it’s like when no one buys anything.
It’s not pretty.
Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the U.S. economy. When people stop buying non-essentials, as they did after the economy soured from the financial crisis, it has ripple effects.
Retailers, manufacturers, distributors and companies all along the supply chain suffer. Many companies are struggling and laying off workers. Some companies won’t survive the current recession.
So when people don’t buy out of choice, some people lose their jobs and those people stop buying out of necessity. It’s a vicious downward spiral. Economies are built on people trading goods and services. When that trade stops, well, you get the idea.
Who are these anti-consumerists? They include communists, corporation bashers, environmentalists and religious groups. See Adbusters and Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. Also check out the Wikipedia entry on Buy Nothing Day.
The anti-consumerists have been rather quiet this holiday season. Perhaps they thought it was OK when an enlightened few were following their principles, but not the whole country. Hey, even their jobs depend on other people having jobs and spending their salaries.

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