Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Black Friday y’all!

Today on The Current

Ah, the sounds of the holidays ... a cacophony of cascading voices, all urging you to spend. And that's just the beginning of the commercial onslaught. Which leaves me with just one question. Aren't we supposed to be in the middle of some kind of ever-expanding, global economic meltdown?

Now a financial apocalypse is as good a reason as any for a little retail therapy. But still, it all seems a little odd to be asking people to spend their way through austerity. And yet, it seems to be working because retail sales in Canada are holding strong, even as consumer confidence plummets.

Benjamin Barber has a few thoughts about why that might be and why the perils of shopping and consumption are so difficult to avoid. He's a political theorist who's best known for his book, Jihad vs. McWorld. His latest book is Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults and Swallow Citizens Whole and he was in New York City.

Here are a few quotes from the interview…

"…if socialist politics dominates every sector of society we call that totalitarianism. Nothing wrong with religion. Religion is part of our life. But when religion dominates every sector of society – the cultural sector, the leisure sector, the economic sector, we call it theocracy. But when commerce dominates every part of society we call that liberty."

"I have news for all those folks who are buying environmentally good products. If you really care about the environment just buy less."

It is surprising to me that the man still claims to endorse capitalism. Even so it sounds like a he might just make a good Mennonite…

listen to the whole thing here

1 comment:

Lounge MD said...

I listened to that interview. I find it very interesting that he still retains faith in capitalism. That aside, I found his thoughts to be remarkably insightful. Especially the one you pointed out about the totalitarianism. I think Naomi Klein makes a similar point in No Logo regarding how ubiquitous commercialism tends to be.