Monday, October 13, 2008

The left's view of production

Did you see the front page story in The Funny Paper today? Nearly the full page, several pictures, recounting how some families are cutting back on consumption in these uncertain economic times.

Or at least that was the ostensible pretext of the article. In reality it was just another entry in their running critique of capitalism.

The article profiled several folks who have arrived at a higher consciousness because they are rejecting our "consumer culture", and have pared back their spending because they are more highly attuned to what are real "needs" vs. just "wants."

Of course there is the obligatory quote from the academic, critical of our culture:

"We live in a microwave society," says Rich Reiner, who teaches psychology and finance at Portland Community College. "We want things instantly. We don't want to take time for anything. That includes stuff we want, places we want to go."

And it goes on to give vignettes about four people who have decided more or less to reject our consumer culture and live more simply. The sub-text of the entire article is the same thing we have seen out of TFP time and again over the years - America is evil because we consume so much more than any other country, and our people are inferior because we find fulfillment in consumption.

What the left never seems to understand, so eager they are to trash America, is that before anything anywhere can be "consumed," one little detail has to be taken care of: that thing has to be PRODUCED.

So saying the U.S. consumes more than any other nation means that we are a larger engine for production than any other country. And that stuff we produce and consume? It makes our lives better, and the lives of everyone who is touched by the production stream.

They pretend that shrinking is a strategy for solving our nation's problems. If only everyone would consume less, we would all be better off, they seem to think. Ever see the bumper sticker: "Live simply, so others can simply live."

That is precisely the ethic that pervaded this article, and that the left seems to believe is true. In reality, it is amazingly wrongheaded - it is 180 degrees wrong. It is completely backward. "Living simply" would bring tremendous harm to others.

What would happen to the world if everyone in the U.S. decided to consume 30% less? Live in less space, buy 30% less groceries, clothing, consumer goods of all types. There would be a worldwide depression. People would starve, especially in third world countries whose only hope of climbing out of despair is to produce things for our markets.

The fact is, shrinking is not a route out of our problems, it is a recipe for misery and long term despair. The ironic thing is that the geniuses at The Funny Paper don't seem to understand the implications of their own ideology.

Imagine how much less advertising would be done in a world where "live simply" is the watchword? It would hasten the day that they go out of business, for sure.

Which, perhaps, is the one silver lining to this madness.


OregonGuy said...

Back in the early 1980's, the Oregonian had one of the best business pages/sections in the nation. By 1994, it was a joke and has remained a joke since.

I believe their problem is, that if they accurately report on business, there will be a disconnect with what is being reported on the front page.

So, true reportage had to go.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of the Zero's hypocrisy. They make their income by peddling consumerism, but they have the audacity to promote sustainability and green philosophy in their editorial.

What a bunch of tools.

Anonymous said...

"Live simply, so others can simply live."

Hey smarty pants,
Good points but I think it's,

"so others MAY simply live"

Anonymous said...

I believe a there is a comparison between the Oregonians executives and the executives of the American automobile manufacturers in the 1970’s. I will bet that Stickel, Rowe and Bhatia surround themselves with yes men and carry out their personal lives associating only with peers of their social status. That’s what the American automobile business executives did. Then the foreign manufactures kicked their respective butts by providing vehicles that had quality, economy and safety at a lower price.

I wonder when the last time Stickel, Rowe and Bhatia actually walked around town, drove out to the far east side, or rode the Max. I wonder if they ever shopped at the merchants that advertise in their paper.

American Newspaper’s first challenges came from USA Today. Today the challenge is the internet. What the Oregonian missed in translation is that they are pandering to the progressive left, the hipsters and the entitlement class that has the lowest per capita readership of print media.

The other thing they lost is that newspapers lead and create opinion not follow trends and current fashions.

Anonymous said...

Newspapers essentially became cheaters. They gradually adopted the mindset that they had a responsibility to influence the greater good,,,,"as they see it".

That gave them the green light to sway from the path of journalistic righteousness.

And sway they have. How often is it that we see an editorial with a convenient companion "news story" bolstering the opinion piece?

Of course the overall coverage of issues has become so tainted and selective that even major issues get presented with extraordinary bias in both substance and ink quantity. The O has traveled so far it brazenly omits coverage that they find in conflict with their perceived mission.

The examples are many but the global warming issue is the mother of all examples as Kremer has pointed out in earlier threads.

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