This morning my husband asked me why do Americans have to purchase more than they make? I did not know how to answer so maybe I can get some answers from all of you.
My explanation: because we (and I mean not only americans but other "over" civilized societies) have such a low sense of accomplishment that we have to overcome it somehow. So we buy stuff that give us a false feeling of fulfillment. That's my case anyway.
I tend to agree with that, we tend to value success in material ways. Most of us lack self discipline and moreso the economy is built that way - consumer oriented to gain more profits.
You are so right, when the self discipline is low, the consumerism virus takes over (or it is a bacteria that grows where self esteem is missing?).
Simple we have advertising execs on 5th Avenue telling us on the television how we need the new gizmo or we are losers. We Americans are very caught up in prestige. And before the house came tumbling down there were plenty of banks willing to give you a credit card to purchase all the stuff you don't need. I don't need an Iphone. I also don't need this laptop. I definitely don't need a big ole flatscreen because there is little on TV worth watching. But Image is everything. Part of what brought down the collapse of our economy quite frankly is our vanity.
I'm not sure what exactly you are asking. Are you asking why Americans purchase more than they can afford? Or why we no longer manufacture much of what we purchase? If it's why we seem to buy so much... well it's because we can. If you're asking why we manufacture so little, it's because our standard of living is so high that we can't afford to pay factory workers the wages to manufacture goods and still be able to sell them at a reasonable price. I don't completely believe that because I try to buy as many things as I can that I know are made in America, not just American brands made in China, and I don't feel like I'm being over-charged for anything.
It's not just Americans however who like to spend. I have friends who come over from Holland every year for their "holiday" and they spend a fortune at the outlet stores on designer clothes.
You can blame the Industrial Revolution which changed the economy from an agriculture base to a manufacturing base. It was a turning point in history. People moved away from the farms and into the cities where jobs were to be had in factories and mills. Populations rose, income rose, eventually leading to a true middle class where average people could afford to purchase things only dreamed of in the past. With this basic shift from agriculture to manufacturing, there needs to be a market for the goods created.
You're so right Disturbia ... And then came the power of the media and advertising - once in place, we purchase until we have what we don't want and probably don't need.
The Revolution is just one of the factors...It just brought you the possibility to have new things. Americans, as other nations, are now on top of the world. From this highest point there is none but one perspective: looking down, going down or stay there trying to be happy with yourself.
perhaps we can blame that a little bit, but the fault lies in us, we lack self control and we tend to succumb to the ones you mentioned most of the time.
It's a double-edged sword. I have a small interior design business which employes five people. If nobody spends their money to buy my services, I have to lay off my employees. It's really that simple. We are all caught in a trap and running on a treadmill. We can't just stop spending because if we do, we will all be out of work. It's that very desire to have a bigger house, a better car, more of everything that makes us strive for better education to get better jobs so that we can afford those things. Lust and greed are not always bad. They are what drive us to always imporve and be better. It's human nature, it's the best hunters who are able to provide the most meat ensuring the survival of the species. So if we want more than we should have or maybe need, it's the basic drive inside us all to want a better life.
I say we go back to the farms, grow our own food, kiss technology goodbye, and live the simple life, but they already tried that back in the 60s and it didn't work.
Disturbia, there are people that have money and they can spend it on whatever they need. Doing so they contribute to a healthy economy. On the other side there are people that don't have money, but they borrow and buy anywhy, even if they don't need the thing. And that is unhealthy for them and for economy too. And they do so because they do not have the discipline, as prettydarkhorse put it, to say NO.
Often people today send money they don’t have. Often people are better at getting what they don’t want than what they really want. Like buying this ugly lamp to go with that ugly chair and so on until you say to yourself, my whole life is a mess.
I once was rich, yet not so happy, I re discovered the best things in life are free and found how to solve my problems gracefully by keeping it simple and staying within my means and send money that I have. When more money comes available give. Many people think things will gain them respect from respect will gain them love, or owning things will give them love
All we have in life is what we give away. Give money, you will get money, you give love you get love and so on...
It looks like pretty much all these post have focused on the problem from greed to profit.
Sadly we have created this system, who wouldn't like the next new expensive car and we need to throw out that old 6-month computer for the newer model, You mean your cell phone doesn't have these new features.
Funny once we get what we want it wasn't as important as we thought it was.
it is just self control and discipline, but there are times those technologies, we like to make things faster so that we can save time so we buy those stuff, could be luxury to some depending on needs.
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