David Banks: Maybe Americans should just go shopping

  • Article by: DAVID BANKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 5, 2010 - 6:15 PM

C'mon -- you know you want to. How else to put some wind in our sails?

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peterepleySep. 5, 10 7:19 PM

Go to work, buy an Xbox, eat at Applebees, shop at Target, wash, repeat. It wasn't consumerism, it was lost purposeless consumerism. Zombie commercialism! We consumed for the sheer fact of consuming. We needed to change our perspective, we needed to find value in what it was we were all doing. Historically depressions have brought out the great in people; great food, great music, great wine, great art. We should enjoy this time of innovation, this lull between waves of mass consumerism. In a couple years it is going to be California Raisins, Avoiding the Noid, The 7-Up Spot, and carbon-copy jeans companies trying to convince you that spending an extra fifty dollars will make your problems go away. Pull up a campfire, have a beer, and enjoy the silence! I know I am!

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futuricsSep. 5, 10 8:04 PM

is gonna be a long one. Hope you've already bought a lot of beer. It's gonna hafta last ya. "Historically Depressions have brought out the great in people." Yeah, but look around ya now though. The great ain't coming forth this time around. "Time of innovation"? What? Where? Everybody is scared and running for cover. I'm all for hitting the reset button, mind you. I'm just not seein it this time. And I've looked hard.

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bottomlineSep. 5, 10 8:38 PM

Maybe we should just leave things alone for awhile.

Leave it alone ...and it will (re)balance.

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tbot2000Sep. 5, 10 9:16 PM

according to KK, we should let really rich people exploit everyone else so they can get richer!

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peterepleySep. 5, 1011:14 PM

I agree that more doom and gloom is probably around the corner, and parts of our nation with never recover. We will never be an industrialised nation again, the concept of American plants producing American machines that are bought by American consumers is over. We are, like it or not, a full fledged services industry. I think all of us are in for a rude awakening of some sort. Steady paychecks are becoming a thing of the past. Being employed by the same company for longer than five years will seem unnatural, months of unemployment between projects will replace "vacation time" in the traditional sense. Having 70% of your paycheck go to your "Safe Mortgage Investment" is now an exercise in poor money management. A 20 year home loan? Madness! The innovation will come from the people that can work through all of this; the twenty people that are unemployed, find each other on facebook and start up a small business while they all search for jobs, the people that go from an expensive house to a mobile home not because they can't afford their house but because they want to reduce their future risk, the people that go back to school not to learn a new trade but a new language so they can compete with their Japanese, Indian and Chinese bilingual counterparts. It's going to be rough, and we'll never see the classic era again, but it'll sure be interesting! And I wish you all good luck!

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furry1Sep. 6, 1012:16 AM

Maybe our economy shouldn't be based on the assumption of continued, massive growth and always increasing profit for every corporation. I'm not saying that the economy shouldn't grow, just that increasing profits and shareholder dividends every quarter should not be the be-all & end-all measure of success. In the end, we have to ask ourselves what we think our economy exists for, because right now it seems like the only answer is "It exists to grow as much as possible, as fast as possible." and that's just not realistic or sustainable, there are only so many flat screen TVs and X-boxes we can buy.

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dorsanoSep. 6, 10 1:15 AM

China has enough income (which is what we'll buy if we go shopping) - change our trade agreements.

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iluvsteaSep. 6, 10 6:42 AM

Glad to see the Dems have killed the American spirit. I am disgusted by the whining I see on this site. Our founders would never have tolerated this weakness, so why are we? Should we just let the libs ruin our country? We need to refocus. Yes, shop. But, shop for American Products. Give jobs to Americans. We need dreams again! I am not ready to watch our country decline because of Libs driving us broke and fighting wars we can't afford in countries that won't even benefit us. Republicans. Stand up! Be American! Be Proud! Let's reawaken the American Dream!

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josephkaySep. 6, 10 8:54 AM

Mr Banks, you state the essential truth: the only economically, socially and environmentally sustainable society is one in which people really focus on getting their health, well-being and pleasures with as little consumption as possible. The most powerful cultural message over nearly a century has been that happiness requires buying stuff, since concentrated private wealth, which controls the media and the politicians and therefore determines the cultural messages, gets more wealth only so long as capital can continuously be reinvested to make profits. If we all consumed half as much, we'd have to work half as much, we'd be happier and healthier, and Greenland wouldn't be disappearing into the ocean. The only problem is that so many people only get their income by working to produce goods and services that people don't need. This means that a dramatic deescalation of the economy would leave some people untouched but huge numbers of others without a source of income, absent a fair and workable way of redistributing/sharing labor. Coming up with such a mechanism would be almost impossibly challenging even in a society composed of thoughtful people. In our present situation, with the wealthy controlling the messages and 30% of the population hopelessly manipulated to scream for even more power those who are destroying their lives, we're just headed over the cliff.

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sbanickiSep. 6, 10 9:29 AM

You are telling the alcoholic to have another drink. We are in the midst of a Great Recession that could have been a depression. The net worth of all Americans has been negatively affected, as has their optimism and willingness to go on spending binges as they have over the last several decades. Controlling the binge is a good thing; however, it means that we must find another engine for our growth rather than the American consumer. The good news is there is a new engine, and an established one, that will drive us to prosperity again. Read More: http://xrl.us/NewEconomicReality2

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