As usual, the sky is bright with sunshine and blue as far as I can see. But as John Barth once so ably noted in his novel, The Floating Opera, bad things can happen on good looking days. These days I feel clotted in the brain as I try to analyze the incoming data. In market analysis after market analysis, the odds favor a coming economic depression while the market itself rockets up one day and plummets down the next. Meanwhile, from my perspective this holiday season is serving to illuminate our current dilemma. Spend or not to spend that is the question.
My mailboxes, both literal and viral, have been flooded with reward offers that ask me to double my points while using my great credit to buy more stuff. The pressure is on and it is real because we all face the choice. If we continue to spend, buy, use credit, then the free market economy of which we are a part will continue to flourish. We will all be safe, employed, and rosy in our futures. But if we continue to spend, to invest in our futures by buying into our present, then how can we adhere to the main idea of frugality, spend less earn more?
This is really what it means to be stuck on the horns of a dilemma. The way our economy is designed, we need to continue consuming in order for it to survive. But for us to survive, we need to develop an economy that is built around the idea of sustainability. Instead of built in obsolescence, we need designed to last. Instead of get-rich-quick, we need to recognize when enough is enough.
Somehow, we need to recognize what is going on right now as an economic warning signal to rethink without the politics, to plan without the avarice, and to use the opportunity to come together instead of growing further and further apart.