Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Government will take care of us

Tomorrow is "Buy Nothing Day." Rather like a holiday to some "anti-consumers", except that it is not a paid day off. Until "Buy Nothing Day" is legislated as a Statutory holiday, the line ups will always be longer on Boxing Day.

Wired News caught up with Kalle Lasn, the anti-holiday's founder, who acknowledged the internet's role in making BND a global protest movement, but decried the laziness of many bloggers and the digital generation's disengagement from the real world.

Lasn: Over-consumption in the so-called First World has ecological implications. It's one of the root causes of the ecological crisis we are in. I think it has psychological consequences because we have become consumer drones who live lives of consumption, suffering from mood disorders.

See also
Eat, Sleep, Work, Consume, Die
You Better Shop Around -- Not!
On Friday, Stop 'Til You Drop
See Our Film, Join Our Cause
Discover more Net Culture
Hang Up and Drive
Space Pioneers' DIY Thanksgiving
A Torrent or a Trickle?
E. Coli Can Take Your Picture

[..] And since Sept. 11, many people have realized that over-consumption has political dimensions. Many people are angry at us because of how we control the global economy. So there is an ecological, psychological and political dimension to BND, and people who don't get it should look a little bit deeper.

[..] When I was in my 20s, a few years after I graduated from a university, I started my own market-research company in Tokyo, Japan. For five years I lived in that world of advertising. Even though I was making a hell of a lot of money, I got sick of it because of those advertising guys. They were sort of apolitical, ethically neutral-type people. After a while I got sick of these small-minded, ethically neutral people who figured they were just in the business of selling, and eventually I said, "That's it," and became a different kind of a person.

[..] This is a fascinating, 24-hour experiment that you can conduct with yourself. You can make a personal pact with yourself not to buy anything for 24 hours and you can see what it feels like.

I have talked to hundreds if not thousands of people over the years about how they have negotiated this consumer fast for 24 hours, and it's amazing how many people, a huge percentage, who go on this personal experiment, how they have a very profound day. Some who do make it through, by the end of the day they say, "Wow, what an incredible experience that was."

[..] After a while, many participants become activists. They participate in a bicycle rally on BND or congregate in Union Square and march around the city to some corporate headquarters they don't like. Many people like to pull off pranks -- wear masks and go through malls.

In past years, we have unveiled huge banners in the malls of America. Some edgy activists who love walking that civil-disobedience line do weird things like walk into stores and fill up carts and leave them lying around, or just keep on whirling around stores with BND messages on their backs. And many shops who don't want to shut for BND, they actually turn their shops into bartering stations.
HT: Jonathan Wilde at Catallarchy.

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Anconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

Excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, © Copyright, 1957, Ayn Rand


MapMaster said...

I've earmarked Buy Nothing Day for supporting those individuals and businesses who work hard to provide people with the things that they want and need and asking nothing in return except a voluntary exchange in the form of money. I'm bringing my wallet to the stores tomorrow to say "thank you!"

Mike said...

Kalle Lasn is behind it!?...

...wait a minute then, I think I totally misunderstood Buy Nothing Day. If Adbusters is behind it the rule must be that it's OK to shop on Friday, as long as you don't patronize the boutiques and lending-houses of, ah, shall we say, "international finance."

(Kalle Lasn on "neocons"): "Here at Adbusters, we decided to tackle this issue head on and came up with a carefully researched list of who appear to be the 50 most influential neocons in the US. What they all share is the view that the US is a benevolent hyperpower that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of them are Jewish." -- Kalle Lasn, "Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?", Adbusters

(BTW: The Jews in the list are helpfully indicated with stars.)