Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Catch 22 of Stuff

Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving. I wish all my American readers as Happy a Thanksgiving as possible under the circumstances.  I hope each and everyone of you has something to be thankful for.  And I hope none of it is stuff.  (Or stuffing)

Stuff, Things, Cargo, Plastic Happiness. The purchase of which is supposed to make us happier in some way or another.  With Christmas coming up and the world awash in stuff to buy, we all tend to fall prey to the notion, "If I only had. . . my life would be complete" whether it is for our selves or others.

Concerned citizens try to stay our hands by assuring us we are ruining the planet by our extractions and our junk. There are too many people using too many resources to be sustainable etc. etc. (Which is correct but have you noticed the people who say there are too many people in this world never volunteer to get off.  That is a rant for another day.)

Here is the conundrum (as opposed to an elephant sitting on a dinner roll which is a bunundrum) if we stop buying stuff, things, cargo, plastic happiness then the economy of the world would collapse and we would be worse off than drowning in a sea of refuse which will happen if we don't stop with all the stuff.

If there is an economist in the crowd, please explain to me how we stop buying stuff but keep the world turning round. Even if we just stop buying useless stuff like combination ramjet fly swatters and peanut butter spreaders.

The world adds millions of people to the work force every year, millions more than we had last year.  All of them need jobs that can earn them a living wage, define it how you will. Those jobs come from making stuff.  No stuff then no mines, no factories, no need for roads, rails, airplanes, shops, or garbage dumps. And no service industries. We cannot provide ourselves the basics, define them how you will, by taking in each others laundry. The basis of taxes which is the basis of civilization comes from taxing stuff and all the spin-off activity associated with stuff. From that we pay for education, health care, infrastructure, social safety nets and security.  No stuff, no civilization.  Stuff, no civilization but takes longer.

If I just had a sliding compound mitre saw and a semi-professional planer for my wood working shop. . .

My head hurts. I am going to bed. Happy Thanksgiving


13 comments:

  1. Not sure this would completely make up for buying stuff, but we could do productive things like build and rebuild infrastructure, improve public education and healthcare, and other public service improvements. That would provide jobs and help keep the economy going.

    I'm thankful for the great life America has given me. I will do what I can to keep it that way for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In order to pay for these things, you have to have money from somewhere. Wealth is created by producing and selling stuff at a profit. The USSR tried doing as you suggested and their only source of money was oil and gas. Putin has put Russia in the same position by not developing the manufacturing sector or any other, than the military. When the price of oil and gas fell, all the activities you list came to a grinding halt as there was no money to pay for it.

      Delete
  2. At least Canadians have the sense to have their Thanksgiving when the weather is nicer. Stuff. George Carlin has some great ideas about it. Check him out on YouTube if you get a chance. I am beginning to understand that we accumulate stuff for the first two thirds of our lives and spend the last third trying to get rid of it all. It is a burden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Truth. Move a few times and you are constantly getting rid of stuff.

      Delete
  3. My daughter has made great efforts to ensure that the stuff she buys has a positive environmental impact. She's willing to pay a premium, of course, which she would have to do. I won't go that far. But there are always other ways to give (and to support the economy): giving experiences. A dinner out together, a movie, a trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your daughter has the right idea. And there are other ways to give that do not include stuff. Those are good ideas.

      Delete
  4. "Bunundrum" - *snickers* I don't know the answer to the question of what to do about 'stuff'; but I'll tell you this: I'm incredibly thankful to be one of people for whom 'stuff' is a questionable burden. :-)

    Happy Thanksgiving to our U.S. friends!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was specifically for you.
      I just skimmed two Black Friday flyers and was amazed at all the stuff I don't want or need. Maybe it comes as Juno said after one has accumulated enough stuff that one's life is satiated by it. Old Age.

      Delete
  5. A lot of the stuff in my house is old stuff, so old that it belonged to my parents, but when I'm gone, my children will relegate my stuff to the bin. Because they have their own stuff so they won't want mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the sad part of stuff. Whether books, music, tools, furniture, sports equipment, electronics, it all becomes dated in time. Most of it gets binned as you say, at some point some things become antiques and simply because so much of it was binned, the few pieces left acquire value for someone.

      Delete