My friend Tom has had an article published on Mercatornet, examining how the sin of avarice became a virtue in the context of our modern consumer economy:
Cavanaugh notes that consumerism is thus a “spiritual disposition”. Its error is not in that it seeks the spiritual in the material, for this is a tenet of traditional theology. And nor is its error that people are choosing material goods over spiritual values. Cavanaugh’s insight is to see consumerism as a type of spirituality, “a way of pursuing meaning and identity, a way of connecting with other people.”
This spiritual dimension to consumerism is reflected in the nature of advertising which has come to say little about the advertised product but much about the identity attached to buying such a product. Buying a product becomes a means to attaining a particular identity or experience. In this process, the actual product is only instrumental and so we become detached from it.
Never one to let an opportunity for economically-minded insight drift by, dtcwee has posted an instructive albeit strangely depressing reflection on the Charlie Hebdo massacre, or perhaps more appropriately, the responses to the responses to the Charlie Hebdo massacre:
We say that we are Charlie Hebdo because we want to be Charlie Hebdo; white, affluent, critical, irreverent, conflicted, and persecuted. Perhaps this helps us maintain our special snowflake self-image when random violent death threatens to bring us level with peasants a continent away.
Over at ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ friend dtcwee has an interesting post taking issue with the ‘children are expensive’ narrative.
Yours truly is tired of the assumption that his wealth is due to being child-free. Although children imply expense, they do not as such prevent saving. And yet, the sheer weight behind the ‘children are expensive’ narrative stifles me.
The sticker shock of AUD$400,000 per middle-class child has to be spread across 24 years. Adjusting for inflation at 2.7%, that’s about $230 per week; the cost of two smoking habits. For a single working parent, it would be tight but do-able. For a couple with one and a half incomes, a breeze.
As a parent seeking to enjoy a richer life despite a drastically reduced income, it helps to read incisive critiques of prevailing narratives that depict having children as potentially financially ruinous.