Thursday, May 01, 2008

Caution: Stimulate Wisely

Well, people have started to get their economic stimulus checks. Let the mall madness ensue. In past generations, it was a person's duty to be prudent and frugal. Now, somehow we've come to a point where it is our patriotic duty to keep shopping. So wait, how did we end up in a mess of credit card debt, foreclosed mortgages and empty savings accounts?

I know that economics is complicated, but I can't help believing that a lot of our global problems stem partly from this uber-consumer mentality. But since the checks are coming out, and I am no economist, I will just make a plea that people buy less and spend wisely.

Here are some suggestions:

Save some of the money. As a nation we are spending more than we are saving. This is a problem, because then when things get rocky we don't have enough to sustain ourselves.

Supplement your food budget. The cost of food is rising! Buy local when you can, because shipping food long distances raises food costs, uses more fuel, and pollutes the earth.

Buy something you need, but can't necessarily afford. If you are thinking about upgrading to more energy efficient appliances, this might be a good time to do it. My TV is on its last leg, so I'm going to put some money aside to buy a new one.

Support products and causes that you believe in. If we buy from companies that have practices that are socially and environmentally ethical, more companies will jump on board (look at the organic trend). When we can afford to, we can practice responsible consumption by seeking out companies with the best practices (which are often more expensive).

Donate to charity, especially those that deal with hunger. In the Old Testament, a person was entitled to what they needed to survive. The have-nots were supported on the excess of the haves. Food prices are hitting the poorest people the hardest, and we have an opportunity to do something to help out.

Just some suggestions... shopping isn't the cause of our problems, but it isn't the solution either.

© 2008 Megan Shitama

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Blogger Amy said...

Well said!

4:43 PM  

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