Sometimes when I tell people about how I manage my money and how we live, they get irate. Their complaint is that if everyone did what I do, the economy would collapse. I never really had an answer for that claim, except to say that it works for me, but you are free to do things your own way. Nevertheless people felt that I was cheating the system by not fully participating in it. Until the recent economic meltdown, I could almost see their point. This economy is after all largely consumer driven. However since 2008, I feel a little differently. So much wealth was destroyed and so many people were hurt without any real consequences to the people in charge, that I have changed my mind and I am calling for a consumer boycott. They shipped our jobs to China, so don't buy their merchandise. Go to garage sales, church sales and shop in your community buying from local artisans and recirculate the money in the community. Figure out ways to get around the treadmill of working and spending. The treadmill might function for you if you have a job. But what if you don't.
In the forty odd years from the Great Depression till the advent of Ronald Reagan, the American economy was growing and very stable with a very low unemployment rate. Then American Business decided that the best way to innovate was to figure out ways for one employee to do the job of three. Instead of creating the new must have product, they looked to cutting costs. Instead of investing in Research and development, Big Business started investing in lobbyists, to get out of paying taxes. Don't like paying taxes, why don't you move your business to Russia? See how that works for you. As far as I'm concerned Big Business has been strangling the goose that laid the golden eggs. Henry Ford had it right. Pay your workers enough so they can afford to buy your product. American Business has lost sight of that bit of wisdom. Instead it's all about blaming workers. GM went bankrupt because it's salaries were too high? No, GM went bust because it made crappy cars and didn't pay it's taxes, but paid management. Now they're after the public sector employees, who were cheated out of pension money by Wall Street. Create jobs and pay taxes or we won't go to the mall. Somethings gotta give. I'm tired of the whole blame the worker thing. I think you should pay people well. If you can't afford to pay workers a living wage, then , quite frankly, you have flawed business plan. It's important to pay the people who actually do the work and not the managers and CEOs who run companies into the ground with short sighted notions about what really is good business. So until I see real investments in our community, I say stop shopping. Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or Do Without.