Buy Nothing Day! Consumption Based Recovery? How Does That Work?
For years, “Black Friday” has been viewed as a signifier for how the consumer interprets economic strength. The more you buy, the better off we must be in the grand scheme of a pending economic collapse. More or less, in this one day consumers will send a clear message to the corporations, banks, creditors, financiers, political leaders, etc… that we as a collective body, still believe in the capitalist system and a consumption-led recovery. That if they produce it, we will buy it. Even if we can’t really afford it.
How will the economy strengthen from the point of consumption, when NOTHING is changing at the point of production?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has increased from 5% in 2008 to 9% as of November 19, 2010. It’s important to note that this statistic doesn’t include those who haven’t filed for unemployment benefits. And, the majority of working class Americans who do have a job, struggle with stagnant or poverty wages, no healthcare, sick pay, or job security, while employers continue to enjoy soaring profits.
There is enough wealth held by the richest 5% to pay the debts for all the working class who actually produce that wealth.
The truth of the matter is… we have become a service based economy, with a declining base of consumers in which to sustain it. In order for there to be any real economic recovery, we will need to strengthen the working class consciousness and begin closing the gap between those with, and those with out, eventually putting control of production into the hands of the workers.