A headline on today's MarketWatch.com says it all: "Shoppers on strike in September". In an earlier blog post, I suggested that the decrease in consumer spending may seem like uncoordinated fear but is actually partly the result of an organized campaign by fed-up consumers who are using a General Consumption Strike as a tool to change the world. Now is the time to join this growing movement to consume less and live more.
The mass media is understandably alarmed by the sharp declines in consumer spending that have happened in the last three months: as everyone knows, our economies are based on unhealthy, unsustainable consumption. The more we destroy the earth by turning our natural resources into disposable garbage the "healthier" our economies are, or so we are told. But it is becoming obvious to most people that, as the revolutionary leader in Ursula K. Le Guin's classic The Dispossessed taught, excess is excrement and the only way to restore health to our social body is to decrease the unnecessary excesses of our society and to lower our consumption of the earth. In other words, live simply so that others may simply live.
Retail sales fell sharply in September as consumers shunned department stores, auto showrooms and shopping malls, ratcheting back spending for a third consecutive month.Last month’s 1.2 percent decline in retail sales was the sharpest drop in years, and it came in the heart of the back-to-school shopping season, traditionally the busiest time of the year for retailers outside of the December holidays.
The scent of capitalism's decline is in the air, people are now looking for alternatives. Some are turning to Marx -- the Guardian reports sales of Marx's books are up 300% in Germany -- and others are looking to local currencies and alternative economies. Our time is approaching, let us be prepared.