Future generations will never understand our shopping madness
Summary: The madness of early 21st century America will baffle future generations. Esp our determination to spend ourselves to destruction, borrowing to maintain a lifestyle beyond our income.
Our cure requires looking at ourselves, seeing past our optimism and hubris to the causes of our problems: as Michael Jackson says, the man in the mirror. These posts illustrate the madness, esp the later ones written in the midst of a destructive cycle of debt deflation whose end we cannot see.
Here we see posts by Glen Reynolds, the Instapundit — a sample of a great many such posts. I use them not because he is foolish (he’s not), but because he is an intelligent man — a law professor at the University of Tennessee — who runs one of the most important nodes on the Internet. His views are influential, his access to information beyond those of almost everybody. As such he illustrates an important aspect of America’s problems.
This is astonishing, cheering for exactly the opposite of what an over-indebted, over-shopped nation needs. Perhaps he considers these to be funny. Perhaps they are, just like passing out booze at meetings of Alcohol Anonymous — and cheering the resulting drunkenness.
Think of these posts when next you read that our problems result from corrupt or stupid leaders, or evil plutocrats. These posts reflect our attitudes. They reflect reflect an important aspect of America.
Perhaps you too find these funny, or trivial. Bookmark this post. In a few years, after going through the economic destruction already descending upon us, I suspect the madness of these will become obvious to all.
The Instapundit urges salvation through shopping, a peculiarly American insanity
2 November 2002: RETAIL SUPPORT BRIGADE SITREP: (Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these). Judging by the crowd at Toys R Us today, and the mall parking lot, predictions of a disappointing Christmas season may turn out to be premature. There was a whole lot of shoppin’ going on. And Christmas is a long way off.
The nation’s retailers had a robust start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at retail outlets across the country. According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets, total sales rose 8.3 percent to about $10.3 billion on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, compared with $9.5 billion on the same day a year ago. ShopperTrak had expected an increase of no more than 4 percent to 5 percent.
15 November 2008: People like Anand Gupta saved us after 9/11. I hate to call upon them again, but America is in need. Will they answer this time? … We shall fight them in the strip malls, we shall fight them in the restaurants, we shall fight them online – we shall never surrender!
16 November 2008: THE RETAIL SUPPORT BRIGADES ARE OUT IN FORCE! In Pigeon Forge with the family to take advantage of the fact that no one is supposed to be shopping this year. Everyone else had the same idea. Itâ€TMs packed. Heh. Plus, from the comments: “All of the shopping plazas around here have been crazy packed, too. It seems very odd.” Probably all the deep discounts from retailers worried that no one would be shopping . . . .
24 November 2008: WELL, THIS IS OKAY WITH ME: Black Friday Sales Intensify in Downturn. Retail Support Brigades, take note!
24 November 2008: THE RETAIL SUPPORT BRIGADE CONTINUES TO EXCEL: Despite Economy, Malls and Stores Jammed. I admire their courage and self-sacrifice. But will this continuous hard service produce a broken consumer army? There are already ominous signs of strain . . . .
29 November 2008: ANOTHER UNIT CITATION FOR THE RETAIL SUPPORT BRIGADE: Early Data Shows Strong Black Friday. “Sales during the day after Thanksgiving rose 3 percent to $10.6 billion, according to preliminary figures released Saturday by ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a Chicago-based research firm that tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets.” Thanks, folks: You may have saved the economy! The only bad news is, the discounts may not be as deep after this weekend . . . .
28 November 2008: The Retail Support Brigades may save the economy yet!
28 November 2008: BLACK FRIDAY UPDATE: “November and December sales at stores open at least a year may rise 1 percent, the smallest gain since 2002, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, a New York-based trade group.” Not exactly Depression territory, but anemic. It’s up to the Retail Support Brigades, once again! The Insta-Daughter and an Insta-Niece hit the mall at 5 a.m. this morning (without me, fortunately) and, having returned, report lots of bargains but only an average number of shoppers. Then again, it was 5 a.m.
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To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp relevance to this topic:
- about the Financial crisis – what’s happening? how will this end?
- about the End of the post-WWII geopolitical regime
- some Good News about America!
Situation reports on the FM site about the crisis:
- The US economy at Defcon 2, 11 March 2008 — Where are we in the downcycle? What might the world look like when it ends?
- The most important story in this week’s newspapers, 22 May 2008 — How solvent is the US government?
- Another warning from our leaders, which we will ignore, 4 June 2008 — An extraordinarily clear warning from a senior officer of the Federal Reserve.
- High priority report: a geopolitical sitrep on the financial crisis, 15 September 2008
- A new sitrep, as we move into phase 3 of the financial crisis, 19 September 2008
- A sitrep on the financial crisis: why has the treatment been so slow, so small?, 8 October 2008
- Status report on the financial crisis: we’re at a critical point in time, 10 October 2008