Saturday, 27 December 2014

The consumer society is the good society...

We're forever being told - nay lectured - by well-off folk who write books (not to mention politicians, pundits and a whole crowd of their fans) that consumerism and the consumer society is a terrible thing. Multi-millionaires like Naomi Klein pop up with yet another ignorant and ill-informed (but delightfully written) book about the evils of said society - how it tempts us to consume, how this will destroy the planet and how wise folk like Naomi will lead us to a better place.

This is all utter nonsense - we are not here on earth to dress in sackcloth and ashes or to flagellate ourselves for the sin of wanting (evening buying) some high-priced branded goods that the priests say we don't need. Such folk tell us that being a little chubby is a sin because it is a waste of earth's resources. Nonsense squared - we are here to consume, that's why we work. And deliberately constraining our consumption (especially when we're paying over the odds for something that folk in poorer places pay a fraction of that price for) is not our purpose - indeed it is irresponsible self-denial.

So - although I'm not Ayn Rand's biggest fan - this comment about Christmas is spot on:

The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift-buying . . . stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decorations put up by department stores and other institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only “commercial greed” could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle.

As a summation of why Christmas is great and why we love it, this takes some beating. So consume my friends, live you life, party, celebrate and share the wonders of human achievement - goods and services created for us to enjoy more for less and a better life.

Credit to Alex Tabarrok here for the link.


Enjoy the rest of Christmas. And a bumper 2015 filled with the joy of consuming the things we humans create.

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