I absolutely hated the directions the country was headed in so many venues. HATED. For example, consumption and waste seemed like an unstoppable machine. (Oh I’m guilty of it to. I do have three Tvs at home. )
We (I) got into the habit of not just wanting stuff, then tossing stuff, but also to expect to pay the least possible amount for it.
We (I) knew for example that American had trouble finding jobs and making decent wages but it seemed unpatriotic to demand from corporations that jobs not be sent outside of the country so that good be made for less so that Americans could afford them.
I like my goods cheap, though I drew the line at shopping at Wallmart, but people whose employers did not give them healthcare or a decent wages could hardly be blamed for shopping there (shopping in a place where employees get no healthcare or decent wage by the way.) The goods being cheaper at Wallmart because they are squeezed out of terribly poor and desperate people in other parts of the world, those out of country workers requiring none of the taxes, benefits and laws American workers had fought hard for so as not to be treated as slaves. (No matter, we went and found slaves elsewhere, you can you feel the bite of the bitter irony?)
But now, good news, Yippy! The evil machine is broken. What’s next?
First of all, I believe that the economic woes are happening at the perfect time. Later might have been too late, and earlier decisions might have been made based on too few evidences. (like the existence of Madoff-like characters—you know there are more we haven’t discovered yet, if there were loopholes, he’s not the only corrupt genius to have discovered them--and the system that made their existence possible.) It is my hope that the reality of the economy has hit just in time to freeze things, make changes and keep the collective irresponsibility over consumption and waste from tipping into madness.
So here is my first silver lining. (which is starting to look like a cheap polyester lining by the minute) Maybe economic crisis will mean reassessing what we need versus what we want. I really believe that this country has gone beserk not being able to tell those two apart. Yes, that means me too, and my bloody cheepo Tvs. There is a cost to everything, and if it’s not paid in dollars on the spot we end up paying a different sort of price. When something costs real money, it’s not so casually purchased, or easily disposed of for example. And the people who produce it might not be used and abused for it.
Maybe we should rethink paying as little as possible for goods we don’t really need. By paying more for what we really need, we will allow jobs back in this country in turn allowing our workers to be paid more and be better taken care of. And when we export jobs it might be done by protecting them with the same laws our workers benefit from.
The cheery postcards on this post (I hope they don't mind being associated with this post) are sold by Lagom, designed by artist Ellen Giggenbach, who also creates wonderful pillows and bags I discovered her work on Print and Pattern, via Dee Beale, a printmakers from the UK who sells wonderful little bird prints on her Etsy shop... okay i'm done.
Here is a bonus that cheered me up: an article in the LA times tells us that we are already wasting less, by force.
** You are my witness: I will have said it first, before you did :o