Saturday, June 26, 2010

Looking for little signs that mark the way to post consumerism.

As observation and positive feedback is rarely a bad thing, I am always looking for large and small signs that we are emerging from the economic doldrums in the direction I have predicted.

When I was much, much younger, I learned that you find interesting things when you turn over rocks and logs in the woods. I rarely look for the obvious with my head up.

Today is June 26, Hands Across the Sands Day. Saying no to continued offshore oil drilling and yes to renewable energy sources. The oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico might have awakened us. The former Shell Oil executive John Hofmeister’s book Why We Hate the Oil Companies, is a good example of a rock to turn over.

Mr. Hofmeister makes no bones, that extracting oil is a nasty dirty business, that most of us do NOT want to know about how it is done. We want our cars and heat and light, but we do not want to know where it comes from. The oil spill in the Gulf is forcing us to to take a hard look at our addiction to oil. Mr Hofmeister states that while many oil companies are interested in renewable sources for fuel for the personal mobility industry (cars), it is up to Government to make the hard decisions, (forced by we the people, my comment) and set the policies that will take us towards renewable energy.

We just might be seeing the start of a small shift in the government in reaction to our changing outlook.

In a past blog, I predicted that everything will become local again. That also means that we will see changes locally first.

In my small home town of a few thousand souls, we hold a few touristy type “fairs” each year. I attended one last weekend. The turn out was as good as ever, and the number of vendors seemed to be stable from years past. Those would be signs of a stable local economy. However under the surface I noticed something different.

Fewer non essential type vendors, more clothes sales, utility items, more “green” items, more cash sales, with fewer vendors accepting credit cards. I asked a few vendors, if they had used credit in the past and they said they had. I asked why they didn’t now. COST and return. They believed that the cost of offering the credit was greater than the return. So these smaller than small entrepreneurs have returned to a cash basis economy (they did accept checks).

The most recent indications to me that we are inching away from a credit and consumer based economy.

  • An awakening about the fossil fuel economy.
  • A change towards thoughtful purchase of useful items rather than impulse no need consumption.
  • Fewer credit card purchases.


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