Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wealthy Reduce Buying in a Blow to the Recovery - Yahoo! Finance

Wealthy Reduce Buying in a Blow to the Recovery - Yahoo! Finance

What if we started viewing the word consumer as an insult?

For years we have been encouraged to consume and told that it would improve the American Economy. When the money ran out we were given the ability to continue consuming by using Credit cards which actually create debt. Did that really help our economy? Obviously not. Individuals, businesses, and government have been on the verge of collapse due to over consuming. It is only by the recent concentrated effort to pay off debt and start savings that many people have started to move away from the edge of the cliff of financial bankruptcy.

When we eat more than we need what happens? Most of us can just look down a little and know the answer to that one. :) We know that it is better to not overeat but eat the RIGHT amount. It is something that all of us work on to some degree or another. As long as they make cheesecake there will be a temptation to eat too much of it. It is a decision that we can only make as individuals. And it is extremely difficult to do after years of overindulging. That is why when someone is able to take off a few pounds we can honestly compliment them not only on how much healthier they look but can acknowledge and admire the effort it took to achieve. Does it change who we are on the inside? No but we can feel more energetic and may cause us to feel better about ourselves which then in turn can change us on the inside. I had my own weight loss challenge a few months ago and now my clothes fit much better.

The same is true with our finances but many have yet to turn the corner in their thinking. In reading the article it would seem that the curbing of spending is a bad thing and we have been conditioned to read it as such. What if we were to read the article again and instead of absently soaking in the implied negative we read the article and considered the word consumer a bad word. How would that change our perspective both on the article and on our own spending?

When looking at the word consume it is further enlightening to look at the word that is it's opposite. And, what do we find?


Wow. Isn't that what made this country great? Being a producer of goods? Isn't that what our new direction needs to be if we want our economy to thrive? At one point our country was the leading producer of food, cars, textiles, energy, and many other things. Now we are the consumer of those same products.

Here it is, straight from the dictionary:

Word Origin & History
1530s, "one who squanders or wastes," agent noun from consume. In economic sense, "one who uses up goods or articles" (opposite of producer ) from 1745. Consumer goods is attested from 1890. In U.S., consumer price index calculated since 1919, tracking "changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services" [Bureau of Labor Statistics]; abbreviation CPI is attested by 1971.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper Cite This Source

In The Trenches is not just about finding the best deal for your money. It is about gaining an entirely new perspective about money so that while we can still enjoy the wonderful things in life we are giving back and not just taking. Our prosperity will be gained by adding resources and not just depleting. This is how we will make a better place for our children and grandchildren.

In closing these thoughts I hope that you will take a few minutes and read the linked article. First read it as the author seemed to imply that being a consumer was a good thing. Then read it again with the idea that being a consumer is a bad thing. I hope you will be able to see the difference our perspective makes in all that we do, especially our outlook on our personal and national economy.

Our personal and national recovery will not happen through our old debt based spending habits but through the solid foundation of saving, wise investing, and producing more than we consume.


E said...

If we produce more than we consume we just end up with another mess.

Surely balanced, sustainable production and consumption is the answer. Now we just need to define/agree on balance and sustainable,

Molly said...

Several economists have pointed out that if we stopped the yo-yo consuming (spend, spend, spend and than recession hits and people stop spending) the US economy would not have such drastic ups and downs. I don't know if it's true but it make logical sense.

Carol said...

Thanks for your comments.
The dangerous spending comes when it is done on credit because it creates a false sense of prosperity but at some point must be paid back. When the payback starts the spending stops. If we didn't know it before we do from the last few years. It will just take more time for everyone to get back on track starting with individuals, then businesses, and finally government. I see the slow down in spending not as a negative but as a time for people to re-evaluate and regroup.