Stumbled onto this book while browsing in a paper store in San Francisco recently and just had to share. It appears to be a terrific send-up of consumerism in religion carried to an extreme. “Compare and contrast before you commit. 99 religions to choose from.” From the same publisher (Knock Knock Books): How to Procrastinate, How to Get into Debt, How to Get Fat, The Complete Manual of Things that Might Kill You, and many more. Available from Amazon.
“We cannot sustain the juggernaut of consumption that we have had here in the United States over the past decade….. Our houses are too big, our cars are too big, our debts are too big, our bellies are too big, and it’s time to go on a diet.”
“Sixty percent of discretionary income of people in North American is held in the hand of people who are 55 and over…. [Those of us of that age] could live the rest of our lives on fruit, vegetables, pasta, olive oil, wine, and yearly doses of socks and underwear.”
“Our basic marketing engines are in the hands of people who are thirty-something, and they like selling to themselves, and they like selling to a younger generation.”
“One of the fundamental issues that we’re trying to discover as consumers is that there are no acquisitions that are transformational. Acquiring that iPod or that tube of lipstick or that Maserati doesn’t change us into anyone other than what we were to start out with.”
This is an excellent commentary from Thomas Friedman on the vain and vacuous consumptionism that has characterized the American economy increasingly during the past several decades. We’re talking about a vicious cycle that seems now to have brought our economy to its knees – to say nothing of the harm that it’s doing to our planet. There’s a theological point to be made about this, of course, but it’ll just have to wait. Crux of the critique:
We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese …
We can’t do this anymore.