Conspicuous Consumption

A couple of posts to which I want to draw your attention.

First, via Zach at IntheAgora, is this prophetic and funny account of future government economic stimuli. Indeed, Daniel Schorr, who I believe is the only living journalist to have experienced the Great Depression and the Depression of 1897, noted the shallow, cyclical nature of the current mess: “hard times reduce spendable income, which reduces purchasing, which reduces production, which piles up inventories, which leads to company closings and layoffs, which reduces spendable income….” The solution being offered by the government is: more money to buy stuff you really don’t need.

But do Americans (and in particular American Christians) really have a civic duty to spend so conspicuously?  That’s certainly the message of both political parties (remember what President Bush said average Americans could do to fight terrorism!? Go shopping!).

How do we break the culture of conspicuous consumption?  Rod Dreher addresses this here. He raises a good point: who is crying out against this culture of consumption? Not the Church, he says. I’m afriad he’s right.


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