Hey, I just read this article in The Atlantic and I couldn’t help putting in ‘my two bob’s worth’ ….as they say.
‘The real-estate market in the U.S. now resembles the car market in Cuba: A stagnant supply of clunkers and junkers is being forced into service long after its intended life span.’
That’s a great line, but should not be taken at face value.
Admit it, we just love those old clunkers. Why else would Americans defy the longest running economic blockade in history, and flock to a Communist country in droves, if not for a ride in one of those wonderful relics from Yesteryear.
The love and care the Cubans have for those ‘lumps of scrap metal’ is admirable and inspiring, and should make us all think about where the world would be now if we had not been taken over by ‘The Cult of the Consumer.’
Please allow me to wind the clock back to ‘the olden-days.’
Consumerism was invented during The Great Depression of the 1930s by some very cunning operators, including Sigmund Freud’s cousin Mervin, who put his cousin’s brand new invention, psycho-analysis, to practical use far from the therapy couch.
During that terrible time, naturally poor folks were repairing and caring for and cherishing all their old stuff. A love of old things began to develop.
(Freud called this love of inanimate objects the sin of attachment, but that is another story)
This was a crisis for crisis for Capital, as one can well imagine.
So they invented Consumerism, and oh boy, was that a hit!
As a philosophy of life Consumerism was hard-wired into our brains via the recent invention of the Television ( invented way back in 1923 BTW) and its symbiotic sibling, advertising.
Slick promotions created in Hollywood, no less, soon taught us that all that loved and cherished stuff, cared for and meticulously maintained, sometimes for generations, was actual useless, worn out crap, something to be ashamed of. Out with the old, in with the new, Brand New! – became the foundation of The American Dream, and when Americans dream, we wake up and take notice, don’t we?
To demolish a house after a mere 30 years, as they do in Japan, is not a virtuous act! The Japanese also have a law that no cars are allowed on the road after 5 years of use, for obvious, cynical reasons…think Toyota, think profit! Those perfectly serviceable vehicles are then painstakingly dismantled and their parts sold all over the world, where such profligate regulations do not apply. (in Japan, the Corporation and the State also have a symbiotic, some might say codependent, relationship)
Soon all those ‘old clunkers’ will soon be fitted with state-of-the-art zero emission electric motors. If only we had kept our beloved old Holden, and looked after it, we could all be cruising around in a beautiful vintage car, guilt free, in blissful silence, ‘picking up chicks.’
…sorry, I have gone ‘off-pist’ as they say in Aspen. I was having a go at Japanese people and their extreme Consumerist take on life. We should bare in mind that while Tokyo’s population may well be growing, the same cannot be said for the Nation as a whole. The Japanese population is actually plummeting at an alarming rate, and no amount of coercing and cajoling can stop the precipitous decline. Dire consequences emerge as we speak. An ever growing cohort of very needy grey haired folk, and an ever dwindling cohort of over-worked young people, doing their best to avoid noticing, let alone caring for, the masses of old foggies living on the streets…in tents…in the snow!
It gets worse. I think it would be fair to say that our Japanese brothers and sisters are seen as one of the most anti-immigration… some might even say racist, peoples in the entire world!
Unlike some countries, whose entire lifestyle is based on importing more customers when ever the economy begins to flag, your Japanese absolutely refuse to allow any other race to gain a foothold in their pristine, pure paradise. The folly of this policy becomes more starkly obvious every day. To say nothing of the moral bankruptcy of their attempt to keep all their immense wealth to themselves.
As we all know the Japanese economy has been languishing in a deep state of stagnation for a generation. It is easy to see how an aging population has exacerbated, if not directly caused this seemingly intractable predicament.
But it also makes one wonder…where did all the money go!
For generations, the Japanese have been making just about every fancy, new-fangled gadget we could lay our hands on: TVs, stereos, Walkmans, robots to keep old people company, giant earth-moving equipment, cars…lots and lots of cars, the list is endless.
By now they should have amassed so much wealth that no Japanese would ever have to work again, just like those Wiley Norwegians have done. But that is not the cases is it?
So where is all that wealth?
Who’s got it, and why aren’t they sharing it with their fellow Japanese in their hour of need?
There, glad to get that off my chest.
Fascinating where you end up when you turn on the stream-of-consciousness tap.
Ben Boyang 2022