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A Smart Road to Economic Recovery

| 2/10/2009 10:20:00 AM

Tags: Dan Chiras, saving,

As the U.S. economy continues its downward spiral, the media’s role in promoting growth and consumption become blatantly obvious.  Newscaster after newscaster and analyst remind us that roots of our downturn are weak consumer spending brought on in large part by the subprime mortgage fiasco.  Some in government propose tax cuts to prop up spending. The central theme in the discussion is that if consumer spending can be sparked once again, all will be well.

Not-too-subtly, we (the spending public) are enjoined to perform our “duty” as good citizens of the economy — to consume more. We’re told that we can pull a nation out of the crisis and restore economic prosperity by simply prying open our wallets.

It’s no surprise that citizens of this country are no longer referred to as such, but as “consumers,” a term that emphasizes our vital role in a consumer culture led by corporations and advertising firms paid to do their bidding 

Over the years, we’ve become a nation of consumers addicted to growth. We uncritically subscribe to the notion that “growth is good, indeed essential.”  Growth is predicated on the consumption of goods and services, some essential, many not, by good citizens like you and me.

Now spending is seen as the salve for this wounded economy. No matter that our continued acts of consumption could very likely lessen the chances of our long-term survival on the planet. What is even more distressing is that we’re raising our children on the same logic.

In recent days, we’ve learned that citizens are saving more. Some economists view that as bad for the economy, even though saving rates in the United States have previously plummeted into the negative range (we’re spending more than we make).

Carol Dunning, MSW_2
3/16/2009 5:50:31 PM

Dear Chris, I have recently wandered over to your web area and am happily perusing the info within. What really resonated with me was the idea that we need to "restore sanity" to move forward with a sustainable future. I totally agree. My thought is that the people of this world have been systematically cut-off from their life support system(food, energy, communication, health) for the profit minded. So to restore a collective sanity we will need to reconnect to those systems. I think that is part of what you are doing with your rebuilding ventures. Best Wishes. Carol Dunning, MSW

2/20/2009 12:09:50 PM

I wish you would take your Socalist ideas and move to Sweeden. If the government would stop blocking energy exploration and nuclear expansion we would move along a lot faster. It is no time for government and Environmental idiots to deside the allocation of resources!

Edward J Peters
2/18/2009 11:00:39 AM

I remember my uncle and cousin debating something as fundamental is growth necessary in an economy ,specifics aside ,the fundamental argument raged in good hearted fun. Now one is gone and the other I am sure wouldn't recall and I am here weighing in. In these times this economy demands real solutions.One asks what are they and the answer complicates things.Every valley and every hill are interplaying with immediacy . Alienation comes home to roost.A thin line is crossed and it is time to act.How on earth can an auto industry sell a product that burns with regularity in the suburbs of Paris? A sanitation man asks did you find anything good as someone leaves a dumpster. This time things are really interesting times and the vision our leader must have is our greatest need . Things are what they are and that it has been said there will be missteps almost has me scared. A little change is going to take things far. For me I have a few pet peeves and projects. Weed wackers have got to at least go hemp Particle board anything dissolves into the dump heap of poorly thought cuts. Boy scout manuals and California driving manuals save lives and encourage good habits. Rent is a play I never saw,and a thing to avoid, and a return on investment with undeniably good returns for many with wealth.

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