Last night I had a dream that I was at dinner with Janet Yellin of today and Michael Madsen circa 1995.
My brain can be a real asshole sometimes.
The Janet Yellin bit roots squarely in the fact that today is Buy Nothing Day.
From an environmentalist perspective, Buy Nothing Day makes absolute sense. So many things manufactured in the past 30 years have been made to break.Craftsmanship appears to be dead, and repair is a concept that in a lot of places just doesn’t exist.
The economic perspective, particularly now that we are most likely in a K-shaped recovery – better for those at the top and continuing to look shitty for those at the bottom – is a little different.
Our economy runs on consumption. All economies run on consumption, doesn’t matter if it’s the individual doing the consuming or the state. Companies employ workers to produce goods or provide services, they get paid for those goods and services, and the workers turn around and buy goods and services in return.
The more we buy, in theory, the more jobs there are. Assuming, of course, it’s a closed system and someone hasn’t figured out that they can keep raising the prices of goods while moving the jobs to places where people will take significantly less money.
Can you be a conscious consumer, buying only what you can’t make, repair, or purchased used yourself? Making a point to buy local, avoid soul-crushing big companies just to save a few dimes? Sure you can. But it’s hard as fuck because everything in the U.S. version of capitalism is set up to prize convenience and price over humanity. And it’s even harder in a pandemic.
I bought things today – a robe hook, a kit to weather seal my leaky back screen door with plastic for the winter, a handle to help fix the sticky side yard gate. I bought them at my neighborhood hardware store because I needed them and couldn’t make what I already had in the house work for the problems they solve.
TGF went to the grocery store today. We needed milk and a few other things we’d run out of during our Thanksgiving quarantine period.
Technically we bought things. I’m okay with that. Now I just need to do something about where I source the things I buy the rest of the year.