Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that celebrates the family and looks inward instead of honoring a public event or individual. As is now our custom for the last few years, we traveled to DC to be with my daughter and family, and enjoyed a sumptuous holiday dinner with friends. Our two families shared the preparations as we have done for the lat few years. A high point was to her everyone’s thoughts about the occasion. One theme ran through everyone’s comments: thankfulness for being together again.Continue Reading
News from the New York Times reporting on the “biggest” shopping day of the year.
A Wal-Mart employee in suburban New York died after he was trampled by a crush of shoppers who tore down the front doors and thronged into the store early Friday morning, turning the annual rite of post-Thanksgiving bargain hunting into a Hobbesian frenzy. . . .
The media abounds with prognostications that the rampant consumerism that has fueled the US and other economies has gone South and will not return for quite a while. Some economists celebrate this turn of events as an opportunity to bring more sense to the market. A senior manager at Morgan Stanley, ironically one of the many firms that have been implicated in ramping up levels of spending by inflating assets and reinforcing the belief that the bubble would never break,. . .Continue Reading
Conversations about sustainability only rarely refer to it as a noun. Most articles talk about “sustainable something,” like sustainable development, buildings, business, and so on and on. When sustainable is used in this adjectival sense, the object of attention is always on the word it modifies. Sustainable development is not really about sustainability, a noun, rather it’s all about [economic] development albeit a particular form of [economic] development that is supposed to be more benign than the way the modern world works today.Continue Reading
Few of the reviewers of *Wall-E* I read noticed the film’s deeply critical and socially relevant underlying message. Most focused on the Hollywood summer-film story of love and happiness–here between a sloven waste compactor and a svelte extraterritorial robot. I saw a wake-up call to a society that has become so unquestioning of its immersion in a consumerist, technocratic culture that everyday life shows many signs of addiction. The first step in recovering from addiction is to acknowledge your dependence on whatever controls you. But in order to do that one has to step outside of the familiar and reflect on the consequences of your habit.Continue Reading