Sunday, September 7, 2008

spending - harder to kick then drugs/ A $75T Fright Fest

One of my favorite financial writers is a guy named Paul Farrell. He writes a column for Marketwatch, the popular web site owned by the Wall Street Journal. He is a no-holds-barred observer, and uses his experience from many years in the business. In his September 8th column he comments on I.O.U.S.A. which several of you saw recently. His comments are well worth the read. Check it out: "A $75 Trillion Fright Fest"

Many of you can recall how America transitioned over our lifetime into a mall culture. While as children us older folks may have spent some time at the local dime store or Woolsworth, our kids spent much more of their time in the nearest mall, splendiferously mantled as a sort of cathedral to our material lifestyle that grew and grew. A perfect place, in their eyes, to see and be seen. After all, the stores were stocked with all that matters.

A theme of the current economic landscape is that the spending we have done has led us to the point where we can no longer pay the piper. It's over. While I tend to be very critical of the financial community and the goverment for this predicament I am not so delusional that I cannot recognize that all of us bear some reponsibility. We are, as a whole, infatuated with "our stuff". We like "our stuff" so much, that we recycle it so we can turn over our stuff and become infatuated again and again (garage sales, flea markets, etc.) It isn't that we usually do stuff with our stuff. We just like it. We are happy when we see it sitting there taking up space. Our thoughts glow with "that's my stuff". Well, sure such thinking has resulted in our getting stuffed. Whther we've been led to this state of affairs or whther we, again as a whole, created this "altar of stuff" is a long discussion or debate. But it is what it is and it is going to have to come to as stop. Are we ready for a nice healthy cathartic dose of spiritualism and idealism? Materialism is a philosophical system which regards matter as the only reality in the world, and which undertakes to explain every event in the universe as resulting from the conditions and activity of matter. In this sense materialism denies the existence of God and the soul. It is diametrically opposed to Spiritualism and Idealism. In any case, not to get sidetracked, the extent to which the world is materialistic is somehwat charted by statistics which are quite revealing.

I found this feature at the New York Times as especially interesting. It is an interactive chart that illustrates per capita spending and gross spending on various discretionary categories and compares this spending among several countries.

Looking over the chart I couldn't help but wonder if Finland, Norway, Switzerland, and Ireland were among the most happy of the bunch.

Post Script: Brother Don has posted some comments from Gloria Steinham regarding Palin. It is well worth the read. His blog link is listed in the left hand column but here is link to the Steinham comments.

P.P.S. Thinking twice about Obama? Think again: You owe it to yourself to see what Palin's Christianity and her church are all about. Go Here

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