This year, the shopping orgy called Black Friday became untethered from Thanksgiving and floated across to the U.K., where it most assuredly did not increase happiness and gratitude. It did however exposed a society that is encouraged by its Government since Maggie Thatcher day to treat shopping as a sport.
We were all treated to woman fighting over leggings, people stampeding to get the latest TV/Smart phone/i Pad till the police had to be summoned to stop them from biting or killing each other. An extremely shameful, embarrassing thing to watch.
Many of the more extreme political movements in the world today claim that they are a response to the power and force of the modern global economy and its accompanying set of values. We should not be surprised when Social Media carries such pictures.
Today, young people are building a shared understanding of how the world works through social and other web-based media..
In 2008, a Walmart employee was killed when a mob of deal-desperate Black Friday shoppers tore the store’s doors from their hinges and stormed inside, trampling him to death. The chain was eventually fined $7000 for their role in the employee’s death — but six years and $2 million later, the world’s largest retailer has yet to pay up. I am sure the poor brighter did not collect his Loyalty points either.
The shape of the global economy, media, and world-wide society now being born is difficult to predict. On the one hand, the logic of economic growth can lead to the pursuit of short-term economic gain to the exclusion of other values.
On the other hand, a sustainable growth strategy could help ensure that the pursuit of economic growth factors in long-term considerations such as environmental impacts and human well-being.
Consumerism has is part to play in this well-being but because humans are like wildebeests the advertising industry spends $12 billion per year on ads targeted to children, bombarding young audiences with persuasive messages through media such as television and the Internet.
The average child is exposed to more than 40,000 TV commercials a year and ads are reaching children through new media technologies.
Some researchers say that consumerism is baked into our DNA, nestled in our neurons. They say our consumptive tendencies will forever evolve in response to marketing, culture, policy and changing needs on our one and only, tiny blue planet.
In light of Black Friday let’s rediscover the full meaning of the word consume.
Is it a modern American tradition gone wrong or just one more bizarre piece in the backbone of our wobbly world economy?
Now days to consume has become a negative word, but there are other meanings.
The verb to consume can also mean to enjoy avidly and to engage fully.
More and more people are coming to the realization they much prefer to consume experiences than stuff — they prefer doing over owning.
Nature has massive value that we may never be able to put a value on. This is truth, not a fad or a trend. For example if you love the ocean, share it, and don’t be afraid to consume it in the very best sense of the word. But also, fight for it. Protect it.
Black Friday has its roots in shopping frenzies. Online retailers such as Apple and Amazon have facilitated the spread of Black Friday far beyond its american frameworks, to any would-be consumer with an internet connection.
While it is easy to brush of all this behavior off as dystopian present-day phenomena, consumerism and taste-makers set the course of this nations culture, with purchasing power playing a huge role in the nationalistic negativism of or nations.
The technologies of information, stimulation, and comfort are seductive and addictive. People and their needs remain constant. Little else seems to be very stable. We are literally drowning in information. Still, the great difficulty with the empirical base of the information age is that much of the data we rely on to understand the world we live in is unverified.
So much so that the reality behind all that glam and glitter is that joy of engaging in the natural world might be forgotten.
As Pope Francis succinctly wrote: “Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric.”
So what can we do to slow or even work against the hordes of mindless buyers?
We could and should promote a Buy Nothing Day (BND)
A global day of exercised purchasing power, where social activists or other concerned people work to counteract the rampant avarice and shopping orgy of Black Friday with a day dedicated to purchasing… nothing.
Let’s call it neoconsumerism.
Our economies are being artificially kept afloat, and despite all the signs (shuttered businesses, monetary easing, disastrous world politics and energy issues looming), businesses are now pulling out what appears to be the “final act” for the phrase BLACK FRIDAY.
Thank god there are some gnus that are still evolving.
These are rich experiences worthy of consumption. Think of the parts of your life that give you immeasurable joy, yet cost nothing taking time to eat good local food and to consume nature, together, is perceived as valuable, because it is valuable.
Many of us worry about the addiction to the information streaming out of smart phones as people walk the street, oblivious to vehicular and even pedestrian traffic.
The market revolution was a boom-period in american culture derivative of advancements in technology, infrastructure, and communications, as well as the shift in public attitudes after the Great Awakenings.
The mirrors, furs, furniture, hats, and fine clothes allowed for consumers to express their individuality, not only as sovereign beings with varied tastes, but as citizens who were beginning to desire a sovereign nation.