The law of consumerism

A capitalist economy does not just depend on a class of propertyless workers – with nothing to sell but their skins. [1] It also depends on those same workers consuming vast amounts of goods. This completes the cycle from which the profits can be extracted.

In this society ordinary little cogs in the wheel understand that consuming is a virtue and not consuming is a sin.

Taking out credit (at the kind of rates that can only be explained by the banks operating as a cartel) is a virtue. Getting into difficulty and missing a few payments puts you completely beyond the pale. Like having perverted sex in public.

If in doubt try a couple of social experiments.

i. Take out a bank loan. Miss a few payments. Get sent a special debtors paying in book. (There are printed on specially cheap paper to emphasize your malefaction). Take it to a bank to make a payment. Check the horror and fear and disgust of the cashier.

ii. Buy something from an online retailer. Get a returns label. Take it to your local post-office. Watch the condescension and sniffiness of the clerk as she reluctantly processes this ‘free’ transaction. Which, after all, is simply an exercise of your “consumer rights”. Ah – but like the Clash said – “Know your rights. .. So long as you’re not dumb enough to actually use them”. [2]

Notes

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Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer