A Short Debate Over The Economy

My high school acquaintance is a Libertarian; I used to be.

There's been some conversation going around about who's to blame for the depression we're about to sink deeper into, and it was a topic on my high school blog:

In a message dated 12/17/08 2:52:13 PM, Michael writes:

Nobody "had" to run up credit card or pull equity from their house to
fulfill the "American dream" in the traditional sense. Much of it was
about keeping up with the Jones.

I replied:

I seem to recall that you folks live rurally, so it's just possible that you aren't "assaulted" multiple times daily by advertising, which bombards urban dwellers and visitors from every bus stop shelter, every store window, every mode of public transportation (including, I'm told, in D.C., the inside of Metro bus and subway windows) and the stations that surround them, plenty of t-shirts, insignia on sneakers -- and within and between every commercial radio and TV program, before movies shown in movie theaters, and inbetween cable TV programs -- plus lots more I'm leaving out because I don't want to spend the 5 or so minutes needed to be more comprehensive.

So to recap: Advertising presents the common person with visions of "the good life" and urges them *relentlessly* to acquire it in as much quantity as possible -- then the fact that they succumb to this *business imperative* and eventually fail to live up to this *business-created* fantasy is decried by you simply as their failure to "keep up with the Joneses."

Have I got that right?

My point: There's plenty of blame to spread around.

Mark Kernes, '64-'66


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