American Capitalism: Making Black Friday Black

A reader writes:

I saw this picture…


…and it succinctly gives the lie to the notion, propounded by capitalist cultists, that the market magically makes everything better–as we approach the high holy day of Western materialism in which we honor Mammon, Spendmas.

But don’t worry, we are assured of the following:

Step 1. Farm out work to sweatshops overseas while cutting said jobs at home.
Step 2. ???
Step 3. PROFIT, err, every one wins, enter the Terrestrial Paradise, etc.

The natural state of the fallen human race–apart from the gospel–is slavery.   As our civilization de-Christianizes, it will naturally lapse back into support for slavery.  Expect lots of blah blah about our holy and sacred “job creators”.

  • Dave G.

    I think for some the bottom line is the only line. But I fear that the post-Western world will look more like this than we imagine. Not a few folks in Europe/America see Europe/America as the prime cause of problems, and once we’ve been smacked down, the world will be that much closer to heaven. I have a feeling it will be closer to the bottom picture, and fewer cases of the top.

  • Dan C

    The economic moral determinism demanded by fiscal conservative theories, evaporating ethics, Christian moral theory, and free will from the bulk of the market’s decision-making (minus minor charitable giving perhaps explainable in these same conservative theories equally as well by Randian “altruism”), should be making Acton blush. But, spend spend spend! Look at all the good it is doing (but don’t look at the bad, that doesn’t count.)

    • Dave G.

      I don’t think it’s that simple. I think we’re witnessing a fusion of the worst elements of what conservatism was said to offer, and the worst elements of what liberalism was said to offer.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Is there something wrong with my computer, or is the picture meant to be a blank? I cannot see anything there…

  • peggy

    The people who line up on Thanksgiving are central to the problem. Stay home with your families. Quit filling the empty holes in your hearts and lives with stuff.

    An NRO writer urged people to stay home.. do NOT shop on Thanksgiving in particular. If people do not come, the stores cannot financially stay open. I have no idea what people need so badly.

    Similarly, did you know that the biggest drinking night of the year is the night before Th-giving? What? And it wasn’t college kids home on break. It is middle aged women. A relative was out partying with young adult sons. My hairdresser’s 50+ mom was out too. Our Black Friday was getting $5.99 haircuts for the kids.

    Our souls are yearning for something. We keep trying to fill them with stuff, “fun”…we try to dull the pain. Our society is in great need of Jesus to heal our souls.

    Capitalism is about the needed to raise large amounts of money to invest in plant to mass produce, distribute sell goods to the public. The problem here is consumerism, folks. Let’s label the problem correctly. Businesses can only thrive if consumers buy what they have to offer.

  • Marthe Lépine

    I think that blaming consumerism is looking at the economy from the wrong end of the telescope. We should look at the roots first, then complain that the tree has bad leaves. much of this comes from the idea that businesses have to keep growing. It is no longer acceptable to show a reasonable profit, or to show a stable profit. Sales and profits now have to be higher, no longer every year, but too often each and every QUARTER. In developed countries, once most people have whatever they need, if they stopped spending those profits and sales could no longer grow in that way. Therefore, it became necessary to fabricate ways to keep people spending. An early solution has been “built-in obsolescence”, e.g. no longer make things to last, so that people would have to keep throwing out things such as appliances because it would cost more to have them fixed than to buy a new one. But that apparently was not enough to keep businesses making profits. So another idea has been heavy advertising that “creates demand”, e.g. advertise every new gadget in such a way that people would eventually be brought to think that they absolutely cannot live without the latest fashionable piece of clothing, kitchen gadget or smart phone. Entire magazines are nothing else than advertising, for example those that target women with talks of making themselves more beautiful (by purchasing cosmetics), thinner and therefore more desirable (by following this or that diet and purchasing diet products), appearing more attractive (by purchasing the latest fashions), etc. Similar things happen in other fields, such as magazines on computers, cars, travel… Those publications derive their income from advertising, not their readers. Then there are the ads on TV – I read somewhere that here in Canada, the rules for the maximum time allowed for ads is 12 minutes per half hour, or 24 minutes per hour. People watching TV actually spend nearly half of their time being sold the benefits of various consumer goods. It has been said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will end up believing that it is true.

    So constantly bringing up consumerism and blaming people for wanting and spending too much is complaining about the leaves of the economic tree. I recently read somewhere else that up to 70% of the US economy still depend on consumer expenditures. Trying to convince people to spend less has some merit, but by the time goods are in the stores, a lot has been invested and spent in order to make them and bring them to the “market”, so if the goods stay on the shelves, a lot of resources has already been wasted. And when production slows, even more jobs are lost.
    Where to start to solve the problem? I think that this is where distributism can enter the picture. One thing to think about is the confusion between “working” and “holding a job”. Another could be about promoting cooperatives in local settings. There are a lot of other possibilities, if less energy was being spent to just maintain our “market” economy going the way it is by now, or defending “capitalism” and other ideologies…

  • Elmwood

    Giant gyers of plastic trash in our oceans, alarming increasing concentrations of C02 in the atmosphere and oceans, ugly mega cities and Chinese smog, polluted rivers, increasing disparity between rich and poor,…. etc.

    laissez-faire/trickle down wealth works great.