Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Selling Out Of America
We have been living it up for quite a while now without bothering to pay the bill. China, Japan and other countries were nice enough to put up the money for our spending spree. We sure hope they won´t want it back very soon. Our total national debt is 15 trillion, more than it has ever been before. Who is going to pay this bill?
Before 1980, the U.S. exported more than it imported. How did we change from the American Producer to the American Consumer? How did we become so dependant on other nations and incapable of taking care of ourselves in this land of plenty?
For decades we have stuffed the economy like a goose. Everything had to be packaged and marketed. People got used to seeing shopping as the only means of self-affirmation. I buy, therefore I am. It even became a patriotic duty to spend money and buy more new things. The old things had to be thrown away, leaving a gigantic garbage problem.
We became spoiled, demanding consumers, clamoring louder for bread and games and allowing ourselves to be stupefied with an entertainment program at least as brutal as the gladiator games. We became passive slaves of the American dream of luxury. We didn´t care what was going on in Washington, as long as we had our flatscreens and new SUVs.
It has long been apparent that the American standard of living is unsustainable. But above that, it is undesirable. When you look around, you see many people so obese they need two seats on the bus. How did we get so fat? Advertising and the constant proffering of snacks, soda and processed food is ruining the nation´s health. Who is profiting?
These questions and more are being asked in the wake of the economic catastrophe. Art can make us aware of situations we might otherwise ignore.
It can help us find a new way to face the economic and social problems that are urgently demanding our attention.
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