Tag Archives: consumerism

The Religion of “Black Friday” – Can it Survive?

By Numerian posted by Michael Collins

If consumerist Christmas is imploding, what replaces it? Does anything need to?

The mighty American marketing machine known as Christmas put on a brave front this weekend. Stores across the country opened up earlier than ever – some as early as 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning – and shoppers responded. Some consumers gave up their Thanksgiving Thursday altogether by using that day to stake their position on a sidewalk outside Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, or Sears. The rewards were high – those who were first in the store on Black Friday had the best shot at buying at deep, deep discounts. Flat screen HDTVs, which were otherwise priced at $1,000 minimum, were on sale for $300, but only on Black Friday and only to the earliest few into the store. (Image)

It’s a sign of the desperation of American retailers that they even have to market something called “Black Friday.” This used to be an obscure term used by retailers to identify the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers came to the malls in droves to begin their Christmas shopping, thus guaranteeing retailers would be “in the black” (profitable) for the rest of the year. Most Americans don’t even know this, and are right to think there is something sinister about Black Friday, coming so soon as it does after another great American marketing campaign – Halloween. For every person shopping on Black Friday, two or three consumers stayed home, intimidated by the crowds, or disgusted with the commercial boosterism that has now overwhelmed Christmas. How, they wonder, did things get so out of hand?
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Reclaiming Omelas

By Robert C. Koehler

Bob’s taking Thanksgiving week off. This column originally ran four years ago, and is one of my favorites. ~Ed.

Originally published Sept. 20, 2006

“In one corner of the little room a couple of mops, with stiff, clotted, foul-smelling heads stand near a rusty bucket. . . . In the room a child is sitting. It could be a boy or a girl. It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is feeble-minded. Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect. It picks its nose and occasionally fumbles vaguely with its toes or genitals, as it sits hunched in the corner farthest from the bucket and the two mops. It is afraid of the mops.”

– Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”

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Why Economic Growth in the United States Cannot Happen

By Joaquin posted by Michael Collins

So, you cut back on your lifestyle; performed a so un-Greek personal austerity reset but your credit card balance is still creeping up; or perhaps you are slowly burning through your savings; or you are at the end of the line; abandon ship. Whatever, you have a lot of company out there. (Image)

Why is it so hard to make ends meet these days? The days of living high on the credit hog are over and we all have to get small but in the end, we still have to make ends meet; we have to pay for food, pay for utilities, buy gas, etc. How to make that work?

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Social Costs of Globalisation


By Helena Norberg-Hodge
CounterCurrents

“… America is a new kind of society that produces a new kind of human being. That human being – confident, self-reliant, tolerant, generous, future-oriented – is a vast improvement over the wretched, servile, fatalistic and intolerant human being that traditional societies have always produced.”

– Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About America

Implicit in all the rhetoric our leaders spout about globalisation is the idea that the rest of the world should eventually be brought up to the standard of living of the West, and America in particular. Read between the lines of the ‘sustainable development’ argument and you’ll find the American Dream lurking: it is globalisation’s touchstone, its apparent endpoint.

But if this is the direction globalisation is taking us, it is worth examining where America itself is headed. A good way to do so is to take a hard look at America’s children, since so many features of the global monoculture have been in place their whole lives. They are like canaries in a mineshaft: if the American Dream isn’t working for them, why should anyone, anywhere, believe it would work better for their own children?

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Ads for Comcast and Coke on Progressive News Sites More Harmful Than You’d Think

Online media face tough financial decisions… but when it comes to accepting ads for products or companies we condemn, let’s not pretend we’re not supporting them.

By Meg White

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Year after fatal Wal-Mart stampede, Black Friday gets makeover

Jdimytai Damour

By AP

Victoria Rogers had originally planned to make an early stop the day after Thanksgiving last year at the Wal-Mart store in Valley Stream on Long Island. Her last-minute decision against it might have saved her life.

“We saw the mob, and we said no,” she said. “Wal-Mart’s not the store.”

What she saw that day was no ordinary crowd of shoppers, but a throng police say jammed through the doors upon the store’s opening in a mad dash for holiday savings, trampling a guard to death.

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Capitalism, Sarah Palin-style

populist ca 1890sBy Naomi Klein

We are in a progressive moment, a moment when the ground is shifting beneath our feet, and anything is possible. Do we want to save that pre-crisis system, get it back to where it was last September? Or do we want to use this crisis, and the electoral mandate for serious change delivered by the last election, to radically transform that system? We need to get clear on our answer now because we haven’t had the potent combination of a serious crisis and a clear progressive democratic mandate for change since the 1930s. We use this opportunity, or we lose it.

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