Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Frugalism - the more effective way to "occupy"

With the recent "Occupy" protests around the U.S. recently, I was thinking about whether there might be a more effective way to address large corporations and get social justice. If we think about the financial system as it is, a lot of what is being sold is hot air and marketing bullsh*t. Think about how much people pay for status symbols and luxury goods. When you look beyond the hype and advertising, you'll see that they are just a bunch of physical objects. The only reason we think of them as being status symbols is because a lot of people have fallen for the marketing bullsh*t.

So, what does this have to do with the protests? Well, I was thinking that the more effective way to protest would be for everyone to adopt a lifestyle of frugalism and make those status symbols meaningless. Once individuals become aware of the fact that those status symbols are perpetuated by their own consent, they can then collectively withdraw their consent and make those status symbols irrelevant and meaningless. For example, if we all agree that Gucci bags are symbols of wealth, fashion, prestige, or whatever, that's what they are. The bag is not inherently so. Once a critical mass of people are aware of the marketing bullsh*t, we could then collectively agree that Gucci bags are merely objects that stupid people buy or change the meaning of the Gucci bag entirely.

It's not enough to just protest and say that things aren't fair because all of us collectively make society what it is. Sure, the protests will get attention and people getting arrested definitely makes a statement. But the only way anything will get done is if there is some kind of disruption that forces change to happen and the disruption does not have to be violent at all. It can be very subtle, through the act of collectively re-thinking what is important and helping each other to see through the marketing bullsh*t. We can do it because many of the people protesting are intelligent young people - at least I hope so because a lot of them are college students! If we all channel more of our money towards stores that recycle (aka thrift stores, Goodwill stores, etc.), not only will those charitable organizations earn more for their causes (usually helping the disadvantaged in some way), we will all be kinder to Mother Earth because we will be buying things that are in decent condition and would otherwise be adding to our overflowing garbage dumps. Corporations will then have to make things that are actually useful to get our dollars. Only then will we be able to "occupy" Wall Street and any other street in this nation.

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