Monday, May 12, 2008

Wake up and smell the rebate

From Simple Living network, a (justifiably) politicized response to the rebate checks - positioning not spending the money as a non-violent protest against a political and economic system out of control. There are flyers you can print as well.

One thing that gets undersold sometimes in the frugality literature, with its focus on hows and personal whys, is the societal whys, the whys that have more of a political edge. The acquisition mentality is not only damaging personally, it's damaging on a societal level. The more society focuses on getting-and-spending, the more it faces the repercussions of that choice, including the environmental/energy costs, the Walmartization of our economy - cheaper is better, so China is better, quality and slavery be damned - and the endangerment of a lot of people's financial well-being, as we see in the housing and credit crises right now.

The way this whole rebate thing has been framed shows the flim-flam nature of the thing - the government borrows money from the future to give us money that we're supposed to spend on a bunch of stuff we don't need in order to stimulate the buy-buy economy. But an economy based on buying a bunch of stuff we don't need is part of the reason we're in the economic straits we're in. It's like 3-card monte, and if you know that game, you know the sucker never wins. And you and I, my friend, are the suckers.

Every dollar we spend is a vote for the kind of society and the kind of economy that we want. If you want a Walmart society, spend your money at Walmart. If you want a farmer's market society, spend it at the farmer's market. If you want a society that has values other than big screen tvs and the other electronic detritus of the modern age, then put it in the bank, pay down debt, give it to charity - in other words, don't spend it at all!

1 comment:

Mary T said...

You've got something there. There's so many ways we are the one pays. I wonder how much money we would all have if we weren't paying all the taxes, interest & fees in the world. mary