In the last 120 days I’ve diligently practiced what is called the paradox of thrift: by driving my credit card balance to nearly zero and getting my savings way up I’ve screwed myself with tiny reserves of survival while ensuring what could really bring me down, a collapsing economy.
Every consumer has their individual story and scenario, naturally, but obviously enough have taken my path to create a “seismic shift” in 2008 consumer spending habits, along with plain economic pain of simply being broke with unemployment or crushed with healthcare costs. Fear, debt and lack of funds are classic restraints on the absolute lifeblood of the American economy, but there might be two new social variables producers and policy makers should consider when trying to get consumers the hell out of that disastrous paradox and start spending again.
The first is the Simple Living, a movement and philosophy that is impossible to measure in scope but is definitely out there. An outgrowth of classic ancient spiritual practices, simplicity cannot forever erase consumer demand but it can ratchet it significantly down. If a car is absolutely necessary then strip it of all its frivolous additions to get a consumer cheaply and simply to point A from B. Oh yes—no pollution, please. That’s correct, zero.
The Green Movement is seriously out there, no one can deny that, and again although its tenets do not reject materialism they significantly alter its existence. I am due for a new car, all my demographic, equipment and income variables yell at me every month it’s so, but there isn’t a green electric car on the market. I don’t want a hybrid, I want zero emissions all of the time.
I suppose I have small little people dreams, for I never thought I’d be able to train today on a dream bicycle of amazing modern technology and material, to cruise at 18 mph for an hour to iPod music after chasing busses. From whatever miracles of circumstances occurred it really happened, dreams really can become true, and one day I will get into my car, turn the key and be off on my way without a drop of oil. Furthermore, the electricity in my small, simple car will be supplemented 100% by the solar panels on my roof and the small wind turbine on top of the backyard shed.
I am so god-awful tired of knowing I’m not in good with Al Gore when I pollute every day, that easy solutions to screaming problems of urgency just sit there festering because we can’t get it together. Where in the hell is that Chevy Volt, General Motors? Hello? I’m not spending a dime on a car until I can buy a Volt, eat me. Still a hybrid, not even close to the optimum, but at least a plugin. Dreams coming true is way cool, hurry up.
Green is just not an alteration in technology but inevitably a decline in consumption, certain materials and practices simply mean conservation, recycling and spending less. It also creates a seriously competitive branding environment, be green or be nobody.
It all seems to esoteric and abstract in one way, but producers and policy makers are soon to get frantic if Americans don’t start spending again. Money in the pockets of consumers and a solid return of confidence will likely not have the expected effects, American society is changing with simplicity and green. Without those factors in expectations and according policy elements in place our recession/depression could last a lot longer.