Consumerism & alternative economies

We are using too much stuff. Now I know this can be hard to hear, but it’s the truth and we’ve gotta deal with it. In the past three decades alone, one-third of the planet’s natural resources base have been consumed. Gone.

Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff

The existing global economic system isn’t working. It is out of alignment with the planet’s ecological systems; it has failed billions of the world’s poor; it is vulnerable to the whims and follies of speculators; it has suffered repeated contraction and crashes, bringing whole nations to the brink of ruin; it values conflict over peace, avarice over happiness, escalation over stability, waste over food and water.

The global economy is geared to growth, and we have equated growth with ever-increasing consumption – a process that is driven by saturation advertising. We consume more and more but we do not get any happier. This is hardly surprising as advertising is designed to keep us dissatisfied.

The resulting waste causes pollution and depletes resources already in short supply. There has to be a better way to share the Earth and make it safer for our children.

This existing system is not in any sense natural or inevitable; there are many examples of alternative systems. For example, the economic troubles of Spain and other Eurozone countries have seen citizens adopt alternative economies based on informal currencies and time banks.