Lowering the American Lifestyle

Looks like hard times are-a comin. We have all heard people talking about a coming depression, it is such a prevalent meme….and the economy is built so much on confidence and belief, that even if we weren’t on track for a depression, we might be creating one by destroying all confidence in our economy!

As Obama scrambles to take control of the economy as Bush twiddles his thumbs under his poncho and continues to assiduously secure his legacy as The Worst President Ever, the big question at the heart of it all is….Can Americans continue to consume a huge percentage of the worlds resources relative to its population, or is The Party Over?

When this debacle of greed all shakes out, we still be a society that is based on over consumption? Will we still fill the holes in our lives buying ….stuff?

Will social status still be determined on what car you drive, the price of your designer clothes, and which expensive neighborhood you live in?

How will TV advertising, which drives the lust for “MORE” change when people don’t have any money to spend on unneeded useless crap that they are peddling, change?

In other words, how will the coming hard times affect not just the patently unsustainable American Lifestyle, but how will it change our society….and our mindset, which is so deeply based on consumerism?

And finally….how bad do you think it is going to get, a recession, a deep recession, a depression, or a Great Depression?


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  1. In light of the economic crisis….should I downsize my tip jar?


  2. Treasonous Asshole Rewards Program

    TARP-what you will be living under before next summer


    More symbols

    Citibank- Shittybank    Really.


    Wachovia-pronunciation Walk-ova-yah

    Right on schedule for 2009 according to my sources and just the thing to bring about the North American Union farce.  A hearty Illuminati salute to you all.

  3. …”a society that is based on over consumption”?

    “Will social status still be determined on what car you drive, the price of your designer clothes, and which expensive neighborhood you live in”?

    “will TV advertising, which drives the lust for “MORE” change when people don’t have any money to spend on unneeded useless crap that they are peddling, change”?

    Lots of this strikes me as being not only cliched, but not really true.  TV advertising in particular seems to me to be not merely false, but a lazy false trope.  But introduce evidence to support these claims.

    Oh, and if you want my answer to your questions, little will fundamentally change.  Questions such as fashion and status are human constants, which predate the consumer age by quite a bit.  At most, they will alter themselves to fit a different economic climate.  But you are ignoring the substantive basis for these cultural trends, and I think that is a mistake.

  4. People are certainly cutting back on their consumerism right now, often out of necessity. Hard to say what the long-term impact will be, although most folks are paying attention and that’s a good thing. The low price of gas right now, whether market driven or engineered, is providing a softer landing than we could be having, a bit less hardship for some, but it also softens the lesson.

    How bad will it get? Times are different, and technology is a big factor in making this different. And there is some history to work from with a general consensus that the gummint has to throw cash at job creation and infrastructure, and there is certainly much good that can come from this. A key issue will be how much re-regulation of the financial system we’ll see.

    I guess I am not sure how much our culture will shift, and it won’t be overnight. But this weeks astrological events will help move us forward. 😉

  5. was described by The Master:

    The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent…. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.

    War, it will be seen, not only accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labor of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quatities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society.

    –George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    Our political class has been trying to push both consumerism and war at the same time, but the effort has resulted in utter collapse. If our essential choice is among consumerism, war, or pyramids, perhaps we could give pyramids another try for the next few thousand years?

    BTW, while we’re on the general subject, Hank Paulson’s desperate, flailing tossing out of new bailout numbers (billions, trillions, whatever) each and every day reminds me of another passage from The Master:

    But actually, he thought as he readjusted the Ministry of Plenty’s figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

    –George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    Orwell could just as well have been talking about Credit Default Swaps and Collateralized Debt Obligations–and the games bankers, hedge fund managers, Fed Chairmen, and Treasury Secretaries play with them.

    How much toxic, Ponzi scheme gambling debt can a federal budget swallow before it becomes lethal to the rescuer?

    • Edger on November 25, 2008 at 20:49

    Have a heart. I can’t get any skinnier. There are no more holes left in my belt.

    I already look like I’m made of coathangers…

    I lose any more weight I’ll look like a capital “L” from the side. 🙁

  6. constructed this fantasyland (a better term would be Disneyland) of shopper choices, and pushed it at the American public through irrational appeals to advertising.  Convenience is not “natural” — it feeds off of a perverse insistence upon immediate gratification, and thus a dysfunctional relationship between the Reality Principle and reality itself.

    More of this will not make anyone happier.  What must happen now is a reconcilement with the great Other which permitted this feast, namely the ecosystem resilience of planet Earth.  The economic crisis is actually very small when compared to the ecosystem crisis.  

  7. AP Photo

    This sucker could go down. (GWB 9/25/08)

  8. am very much looking forward to becoming a hobo.

    Me and my dog, Fred, riding the rails, working in the open air, cooking skewered hot dogs over an open flame.

    Can’t wait!

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