At least two authors of op-ed pieces in Sunday's Times covered the end of shopping as we know it, which delighted me no end, as I have had many vehement conversations on this topic with CityMom and my friend L. (who gets particularly steamed up about planned obsolescence).
Tom Friedman talked about how the endless cycle of making-buying-throwing away-buying again crap just is not sustainable ecologically, as the world's resources are so indubitably finite. He's talked about this before, but as we very well could be seeing the end of capitalism as we know it, the two dovetail nicely in this new column.
I've said for a while that pure capitalism isn't sustainable, and been called a freak (even though that bald fact is nothing new), so it's nice to have company here. But Friedman never went into the nitty gritty details of how pared-down consumerism might look, probably because his own lifestyle is more is more rather than just say no.
The other op-ed, "Cushioning the Blow," got it. In this one, the writer (Marc Fitten) talked about the absurdity of a $30 throw pillow ($30 after a steep discount) and an economy that would have such a profligacy of expensive throw pillows in the first place:
"And there’s the rub: credit is dead and rich ladies don’t grow on trees. And how many times a year did the rich ladies of Atlanta ever need to buy a pillow anyway? It was impossible for the finite number of wealthy housewives of Atlanta to keep the pillow industry afloat. Why would a company speculate and order more and more seasonal pillows when they knew they would never sell them? How could everyone supporting this system, from the foam manufacturer to the seamstress to the salesperson, think this great big pillow shuffle would last? For this kind of system to be sustainable, a society would either have to make more rich ladies or fewer pillows."
This guy knows that it comes down to saying: Hell, no, I don't need a throw pillow in the first place, let alone another one, and certainly not one that costs $30.
Photo: Crate and Barrel jungle pillow, $59.95