Saturday, November 22, 2008

Greed, Jealousy, Envy and the Bail Out

Photo taken by David D. Muir "The Big Money" (Flickr)

All I've got to say is what I have said before, and I am quoting Lefebvre: "We live in a bureaucratic society of controlled consumption." However, in this instance it would seem that the controlled consumption got way out of control in a way Lefebvre could not have ever imagined.

We only have to look around us to see what he meant. He had the foresight to see what has been happening in the 80s, 90s, and up to now.

Just look at the cars, clothes, and eyewear even. Remember in the 70s when we all wore Levis and they were a reasonable ten bucks? Some of us wore Lee jeans. Now a pair of designer jeans will set you back $100 or more. And if you are not wearing them you are not cool. Your car is especially important here in So Cal. Sad, but true. Folks are still driving SUVs. Why?

I was at Big Lots the other day looking for deals and the little cashier was wearing eyeglasses with giant letters of the designer on the side. I do not remember the designer. Madness I say. She earns minimum wage.

Anwyay, I could rant on and on, but I won't. Lucky you. I feel very sorry for the folks who bought houses and were not told the whole truth about their loans due to the greed of the realtor.

If you have not read Thorstein Veblen's book The Theory of the Leisure Class, I highly recommend you do. It was recommended reading in Kurt Vonnegut's Palm Sunday. I picked up a used copy of the Veblen book while living in London. Loved it. When I was studying at UCLA, it was required reading for one of my courses. It is a book that will make you laugh at our "conspicuous consumption." Veblen hits the nail on the head.

One last thing, everyone is talking about American greed, but lets not forget jealousy and envy. Being jealous of what someone else has makes you want it. Being envious also makes you want it. Both lead to bitterness and resentment. Don't go there. Instead go to Big Lots and leave happy you found a good deal.

Better yet, go live in the Amazon for 6 months like my friend Marcela did. Or go to Zambia for a year like Chas and June. Go volunteer somewhere and help those who need it most. I guarantee you will leave feeling better than if you spent a couple hundred on a pair of sunglasses you are bound to leave in a restaurant somewhere.

Just my two cents...not that you asked for them.


Anonymous said...

could not agree more! i think this we should take this recession as a time to reflect on our social mores. After all, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Mary Cuevas said...

hi anonymous,
thanks for your comments. yes we should reflect. i hope folks do.

i am a child of the 70s and just don't remember the designers having that much of a presence in our culture as they do today. but also don't think we were so addicted to credit card spending back then. so folks couldn't live beyond their means.

i do remember getting a part time job at a furr's cafeteria. and i do remember splurging on designer hair shampoo and conditioner. bought nexxus.:) my mom would never buy it. we were prell, and if lucky herbal essence shampoo kind of family.

to defend my extravagance, i had long hair down to my behind and lived in the very dry climate of arizona.

hey thanks for reading and visiting my blog. i am a newbie. it is fun.:)