Sunday, January 30, 2011

Consumers Have Power!

     You don't need a Government Decree to change the world.  You don't need protective tariffs and restrictions on imports to preserve local jobs.  You can do it yourself.  You only have to discover this power that you already have.  Like any good argument, there are two positions to this story and you can choose which side you wish to be on. 
    One side is production, the manufacturing side, which is after cheap at any cost.  This side is in competition with China and basically states that we have to lower our wages, lower our standards to attempt to make what they make at competitive pricing.  This is the side of advertisers that tell us what we need. It is no mystery why we see the same white (I think they come in green now too) vinyl lawn chairs all over the world, even into the far reaches of Africa and the Outback of Australia, your own country, in your city, maybe your backyard.  We have been convinced these are good, easy to clean becomes a world-wide virtue and they are cheap.  Without making a thousand page list I want to make it clear that it is advertising and mass production that is dictating our desires.  It is the Mall.  I refuse to believe that we have 10,000 years of Human History for the soul purpose of acquiring the same plastic stuff.
     I think back in American History and the trickery we did with the Indians, trading plastic beads for beaver pelts.  I remember not that many years ago that antique dealers would traverse the world, trading "Tupperware" for copper bowls.  These copper bowls are now found in our antique shops and the Tupperware is long gone.  We are tricked into buying things we don't need and things that won't last.
    None of this is cheaper and all comes with a price.  Trees are cut down for packaging, oil is fought over to provide the fuel for distribution, our environment is being trashed and we are losing local employment.
     Consumers have power too and this is the other argument.  We don't have to continue into this destructive abyss where we have found ourselves.  We have power and we don't need the government to protect us. Just don't do it.  Here is my challenge to people in Bloggerville:
    A One Week Challenge to discover your power.  It makes no difference where you live and what country you are from.  For one week don't buy anything imported from anywhere.  For one week don't buy any genetically modified food, don't buy milk with Bht given to the cows.  Buy from local farmer's markets. For the artists out there, don't buy paint, brushes or papers that are imported.  Don't buy junk. Other than food, if it won't last at least a year, don't buy it at all.
     You all know how LOCAL money works, don't you?  You give the local mechanic $100 to fix you car.
He gives that same hundred dollars to his doctor for his check-up, who in turn gives it to the carpenter for repairs on his house.  The carpenter then gives it to the local farmer for meat and vegetables, who then gives it to his feed supplier for grain for his animals. and so on and so on.  Once you pass that money out of town it is gone forever.
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Talha said...

Very true if we all start to buy indigenous products our town, our country will progress otherwise that money is gone forever.

AutumnLeaves said...

I am proud to say that I do not own a single white plastic lawn chair. That said, sometimes people have to buy on the cheap as it is all they can afford. And now that said, I am going to try to do just what you recommend, Jerry. A local business owner of a hardware store gets incensed when customers drive 12 miles to go to Walmart instead of shopping at her store. One day I stopped at her store and grabbed a spiral notebook (like those used in school). I spent more than $5.00 on the thing and could have bought it for less than $2.00 at Walmart. Unfortunately, that kind of gouging is what sends people out of town.

stonepost said...

Autumnleaves, thankyou for the comment! I didn't say all of this was going to be easy and I like a bargin too! If the spiral notebook was made is USA I might even buy it from Walmart also. But gouging may not be really happening, just the economics of business. Walmart probably buys a billion (seriously!) of these notebooks and the little hardware store can only afford 50, so they don't get such a good deal. I don't know the answers!!!Just the questions!

Maundering mutterer said...

During the embargo, we were all encouraged to buy South African - we didn't have any choice, really. I like being able to get my hands on imports. It's a freedom. Of course, sorting the junk from the good stuff becomes more difficult...

Asma said...

wowww that is so true..i never thought about it that way..nice nice very nice.

Clipped Wings said...

I sort of support my local economy. I just checked out my set of All-Clad cookware purchased online for a bargain to replace my 40 yr old pots & pans, and it is made in China. I couldn't believe it! I guess not everything from there is crap. I'm not giving it back either...I love it too much!!! I try to buy local, although local can be more expensive. I mostly adapt...if I have the money I do local, if not, I go for whatever I can afford. I only go to Walmart for kitty litter. Already buy organic milk that is farmer-owned, direct from farmer to store. Funny thing...this milk lasts longer in the fridge than the non-organic. Have just found a source for organic eggs that are really range free, although I just found out that chickens go on strike in the egg laying dept. when a very cold day hits. Something about conserving energy to stay warm. I'll probably always buy garden stuff made in England and France, because of the higher quality. I try to eat a little less, and go for more expensive organic foods. In other things I just own less and go for quality more than quanity. I do pay top dollar for the cat trees from an American company that builds quality pet products, because when it comes to the pet market, foreign products usually suck in quality, or are made out of toxic materials. It really gets complicated when you have the whole world out there. I'm all for imports and exports, it's what a democracy is partly about. I just think a lot of Americans price themselves right out of the competition when it comes to wages, supply and demand. We want to be paid top dollar, but we want to buy cheap. You can't pay top dollar wages and expect to sell your wares dirt cheap. Perhaps the American dream sometimes should more accurately be called the American fantasy.