I once again wrote an introduction that was far too long and just about ruined the post. Now it's a footnote. Read this!
"This is a strange and rather perverse story. Just to put it in very simple terms, it's a story about us, people, being persuaded to spend money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about."
*Though I watch them every now and again, I don't link to too many TED talks. This is partially because I figure people can find their own way there if they want, partially because I feel lazy if I post a link without analyzing it but don't generally feel up to analyzing them, partially because I don't trust "solutions," and partly because I have a hard time trusting anything I see on a screen.**
That said, I just watched a pretty good one, in which Tim Jackson, an Economist from somewhere around England, talks for 20 or so minutes about our lifestyles, economy, environment, and future. Vague description, I know. Here's the official blurb:
"As the world faces recession, climate change, inequity and more, Tim Jackson delivers a piercing challenge to established economic principles, explaining how we might stop feeding the crises and start investing in our future."
The whole speech is good and worth listening to, though I'm not sure if it's any better than going out and playing in your garden for twenty minutes. If you did that, though, you'd miss the following zinger, which he lets fly while discussing the functions of conspicuous consumption:
(insert above quotation)
**Interestingly enough, Jackson also appears to share my skepticism about video media. Why don't people do many of the "blindingly easy things" we could to help the envirnoment, he asks?
We're too busy "putting the kids on the bus in the morning, getting ourselves to work on time, surviving email overload and shop floor politics, foraging for groceries, throwing together meals, escaping for a couple of precious hours in the evening into prime-time TV or TED online..."