I remember when I first noticed those words while listening to an Eagle’s song, “…everything all the time…”. Since then they have grown in meaning to me. So much of the wisdom in the world that floats around goes unnoticed and not understood until you are ready to checkout. Seems cruel, it doesn’t really do you much good at that point. Although it is true that many of us don’t ever really get it.
Lately the meaning has for me begun to address more than just a danger for individuals but our whole culture, our society. Our economy requires ever increasing consumption which means ever increasing production of whatever those in marketing can get us to purchase. This makes for a disposable economy. Nothing is ever meant to satisfy or serve a purpose for longer than it takes to make the next item.
Thrift stores are full of clothing and just stuff that is newer than most of what I own. Sometimes when I shop in these stores I am shocked at what I find there, is it a mistake, how can it be? Someone just bought this, by my time frame and could find no other use for it than to give it away. Did they decide to do without or simply buy the newer version?
What has really forced these notions into my mind, made me write this down, is business, or rather my attempt at making our business work. There is so much of everything out there, at least in this country, that it hardly makes any sense to start a business for any product or service. If you live in a good size city you will find anything you want offered by a number of businesses.
There are more houses than there are people to live in them or people to buy them. If you bought a house a couple years ago it now makes sense economically to walk away from it and buy a better one for less money. If this were not true there would not be so many rules in place to keep people from doing just this even though many do.
Of course part of the problem is this negative feedback effect of ever increasing consumption. The companies want to make more money so they have to sell more products and to sell more products you have to lower the price so more people can buy it. To do this you must lower the cost of production which means in many cases lowering the cost of labor which means in many cases deceasing wages and the number of employees. Some of the now unemployed workers start new companies further increasing the supply of products or services in the market place.
OK, enough whining, so what to do. Well for us that means leaving behind these notions of building a small business so that we can make enough money to be financially secure, ain’t gonna happen. Don’t get me wrong, people do start small businesses and build empires, and they win millions in the lottery too. Young men do play professional sports and become rich and famous and people are miraculously cured from cancer. So that’s ten people. And another ten are just lucky. That leaves…several others.
Being a farmer I naturally thought well hey people will always eat; can’t have too much food after all people are starving in Africa or some place. Boy was that wrong. Here in America you can buy 2000 calories for $2, not considering the quality of the calories. The best farmer’s markets have waiting lists to get in, as a vendor. Last year I saw local, fresh, heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market for less money than the insipid things that pass for tomatoes at the grocery store! What does that mean? Strawberries in February for less than the cost of bottled water!
But all is not lost. I think that farming will eventually become a very serious and important occupation. Well, it is already serious and important, just not respected because food doesn’t come from farms, it comes from grocery stores. Not being sure of anything else, I am certain that things cannot continue on as they are now and food will once again come from farms.