PERSPECTIVES: Shopping Powers the Economy

Anti-materialism appeals to me because I don’t like to shop. It sounds better to use an ‘ism’ to describe behavior like maintaining the greater part of a wardrobe for a decade. It’s better than the alternatives: laziness, or shop-aversion. The former isn’t desirable anywhere outside personal reality and the latter is unpatriotic.

I didn’t know exactly how unpatriotic until recently. Seventy percent of our gross national product is fueled by consumerism. This figure astonished me. It felt unsavory to be a nation that consumes.

But, then I thought about it: what else am I supposed to do but buy and consume products you help produce while you buy and consume products I help produce? 

If we returned to the dark ages before coffee makers, families took care of themselves. But they also produced products to trade with other families or tribes. That’s how I’d get a pipestone pipe, for example, while you’d get a product not product by your tribe.

The only way out of this conundrum is to never want anything