Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

The American Economy’s Ultimate Purpose

You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it…You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations; there are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems; one vast, interwoven, interacting, multivaried, multinational dominion of dollars.
— Arthur Jensen, Network

To realign ourselves with the Graces of Beauty, Mirth, and Blossoming, we are considering how the weeks between Imbolc and Ostara are an ideal time to create space for them to thrive. I would suggest that one way to do this is to be aware of how we are manipulated by and bombarded with advertising, and then consider taking at least a parital break, say, for a week or so.

This is not an easy or straightforward action. Yes, it is physically simple to turn off your television and radio for a week (although if you have kids or a spouse, you may get some serious resistance). But as I noted yesterday, some estimate that less than half of our “advertising exposures” come from major traditional media (TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers),

Can you shut down your computer for that long? (I would miss you, my friends, but I would understand). Many of us are dependent on them for our jobs, and of course, they are pulsing with ads at every turn. Even if we manage that, commercial messages target us from signs, busses, and those weird new rolling billboards. They interrupt the Muzak at the grocery store, and while we’re innocently on hold, on the phone. We are, in fact, trapped at every turn, with a real or virtual salesperson trying to hawk their wares to us.

Any attempt to reduce the glut of advertising in your life is going to be a tremendous challenge, because consumption has become the basis for our whole culture. To explain this, I share with you an excellent article from the David Suzuki Foundation:

The Consumer Culture is No Accident

The stock market collapse in 1929 triggered the Great Depression that engulfed the world in terrible suffering. World War II was the catalyst for economic recovery. America’s enormous resource base, productivity, energy, and technology were thrown into the war effort, and soon its economy blazed white hot. With victory imminent, the president’s council of economic advisors was challenged to find a way to convert a war economy to peace.

Shortly after the end of the war, retailing analyst Victor Lebow expressed the solution:

“Our enormously productive economy … demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption…. we need things consumed, burned up, replaced, and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.”

President Eisenhower’s council of economic advisors chairman stated: “The American economy’s ultimate purpose is to produce more consumer goods.” Not better health care, education, housing, transportation, or recreation or less poverty and hunger, but providing more stuff to consumers.

When goods are well-made and durable, eventually markets are saturated. An endless market is created by introducing rapid obsolescence (think clothing, cars, laptop computers). And with disposability, where an article is used once and thrown away, the market will never be saturated.

Consumer goods aren’t created by the economy out of nothing. They come from the Earth, and when they are used up, they will be returned to the Earth as garbage and toxic waste. It takes energy to extract, process, manufacture, and transport products, while air, water, and soil are often polluted at many points in the life cycle of the product. In other words, what we consume has direct effects on nature.

And then there are social and spiritual costs.

More about this next week.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • February 22, 2008, 12:18 pm Madeline

    I’m loving your recent posts, Beth– This cycle since the Solstice, really,I’ve been in quiet mode–much more attuned to being in nature, enjoying time in the library, playing with my kitchen hobbies, my scrapbooking, spending time with old astrology texts. TV, media, shopping as a “hobby” or sport..eeewwww..

    A way OUT is.. nature. That’s by far my first choice and what I rx. to clients.. who may not have broad metaphysical background–EVERYONE can benefit from more time in nature!

    Comsumerism: Well,I fried my laptop keyboard but found a way to tweak it up with an external one– I should get another 5 years outta this one. And I am examining every purchase I make carefully. Can I red o reuse or??Do without??

    Now,I had to have a new coffeepot.But that’s survival.

    But you’re so in tune with the energies of Pluto/Capricorn and all the eclipses,I think–thanks for the wonderful blog!

  • February 22, 2008, 7:10 pm libhom

    Thanks for signing up for the March 19 Iraq War Blogswarm.

  • February 23, 2008, 8:24 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Thank you for your kind words, Madeline! I agree that spending more time in the natural world is a huge antidote for so many of the toxic mindsets we experience as “normal.”

    More to come! 🙂

  • April 25, 2008, 10:21 pm [ivn.gza]

    Victor Lebow’s quote was not a solution proposal, it was extracted from a journal in which he writes about how competition, customer loyalty, and merchandising functioned way back in 1955. In fact, the tone of his writing is more of a critic to consumerism, than a prescription of a new way of life that could solve any economic crisis.

    You can see his original text in

  • May 4, 2008, 7:53 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Thanks for pointing this out, ivn.gza (for lack of another name)..
    This is hopeful to consider, however,I do believe that since he wrote that, public policy has indeed adopted it as the underlying basis of our economy..

    I am glad I saw that you had responded, as I don’t often go back and check older posts. Many thanks for your thoughts and insight.
    – Beth