A Reality of Cash and Less Stuff

With talk of America's economic situation saturating all media and probably most of your own personal concerns, it probably doesn't help that I'm going to talk about it again now. Well, I'm doing that anyway. I have talked about this before, but I feel I may need to mention this again. The trend in America for some time reinforced the idea that people don't like paying for things. Pardon me for being the kind of writer who will tell you the painfully obvious in more paragraphs than necessary.

The thing is, we really don't like paying for things. Credit has instilled the idea that things can be paid for later. It birthed the phenomenon of living outside of our means. The internet certainly didn't help matters, especially with the introduction of broadband. Now the independent record store has to fight with free media, economic policy has to work with an "up is down" philosophy, purists are holding to principles that don't exist, and every single one of our consumer choices face a plethora of questions we never asked before now.

Our economy isn't just fighting its infrastructure, it's fighting the people within it. Steadily we're learning from our credit-addled transgressions. We aren't wooed by drooping gas prices like we were before. Our spending habits are preparing to limp through the holiday season. It's becoming more and more important for us to cherish our jobs (those of us who have jobs). If these are the growing pains of the 21st Century, our minds are being warped by the times. America and the rest of the world face a new reality in which it much maintain steady economic growth without credit ruling over all. We must realize that with this new reality, we cannot expect growth like we used to (I'm talking to all the corporations out there who are expecting 8% yields and complain about getting 4%).

In this new reality, it helps to buy a CD every now and then or go to the movie theater. It helps to go to a bookstore (and not just rely on Gutenberg, it's probably not good to do all one's reading on a screen anyway). But most importantly, it helps to generally make purchases, especially with cash. We are reaching the end of an era in which everything was free. Package deals may be a thing of the past. Good are worth something and we'll have to treat them accordingly.

In the meantime, we're going to see a lot more of us using less stuff. Some people would think kindly on this.


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