It should come as a surprise to no one that Americans <em>need </em>to be addicted. What does this mean? Why do we need to be addicted?
It’s simple. 70% of all economic activity in the US is retail sales. Unless we shop till we drop, our standard of living will decline, shopping centers will become filthy and empty. Crime will fill the streets and we will turn from consuming to mainlining. Omigod!
We must shop and we must buy. The alternative is downfall, the downfall of the United States. So we must fill the gaping mouths of powerful and hungry bankers with trillions of dollars. We do this because we must have credit flowing. Americans MUST shop till they drop. We must borrow until we’re tapped out to keep these retailers with their miles and miles of strip shopping centers bustling and fun.
This seems to be the dream of America. Ideas like democracy, opportunity, and thrift are painful anachronisms.
But I suspect that this dream is really not a dream of the American people. It’s really the dream of corporate America, the banks, the Walmarts, the Countrywide Mortgages, the snake oil salesmen, and their elected servants in Washington.
I think the people are a lot smarter and know what’s really going on. Let’s turn those strip centers into parks, let’s get the money flowing to environmental scientists so we can have an oil free future, let’s get back to real communities instead of brazenly awful McMansions, let’s change the tax code that keeps the rich VERY rich and the poor VERY poor.
We can heal our communities through equity, compassion, and intelligence. We can authentically counter crime and hopelessness through making the VERY rich pay their fair share and raise up the disenfranchised. We can work to bring us together, instead of fostering separate us into enclaves walled off from the sprawling desert where most Americans live. Let’s stop killing the planet through endless consumption of stuff so as to keep corporate executives on their chemical laden golf courses.
We can do this.