This is the time of year when you have just slightly overspent on your family and friends, and socialising in the event that you have employment and suitable friends/colleagues. You will now be considering diet products, as you will seek to lose weight for your forthcoming holidays, which are traditionally planned at this time of year. In the event that you have the time and inclination, you will also be considering a New Year’s resolution, which may also cost you money. After the debauchery season, comes the austerity season.
Your spending is highly regulated by media influence throughout the year. This is much the same whatever your income bracket. It is a skillfully managed machine that has become finely tuned over the last three centuries or so, since the rise of the department store and initial increase in marketing budgets that led us to where we are today.
It is alarming, when you are unused to it or know how the system of manipulation works, how smoothly you are induced to slip into a state where you are easily induced to spend with the herd. Your diet is as relevant to this as any other part of it. Take out the traditional food, socialising, willingness to conform and you quickly realise how often, and how fully you are lied to in the course of the year.
I used to wonder why people would want a holiday every year, because I loved work so much. Now that I am ‘on duty’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week I actually need a holiday once or twice a year, in line with those who chose to have children or who have been trapped in a particularly tedious job and lifestyle by circumstance. Most things that people in the west want are actually social constructs to make someone else a living.
Once you accept this, and try swimming against the tide somewhat, you will discover just how fast the streaming goes. In my lifetime we have gone from 20 year spending phases of life to 5 or less. It used to be that you had the childhood phase, the disposable income phase, the young family phase, the mature family phase, the post family phase. Now we have more individualistic phases to extract the cash from a wider range of people. Computers and gadgets have caused a proportion of the population to genuinely believe that they need the latest phone/social media/computer/game/movie, and they need it now. To fund this, they need a ready supply of fairly meaningless and unfulfilling work, and during the course of this they need to lie, agree to say nothing about things they don’t agree with, or pretend to like someone who really is not at all admirable. The age of the role model, and the age of integrity have gone in favour of the great Capitalist con.
The irony is that our national economies performed much better when we favoured honesty and were shown examples of heroic rebellion. Saying yes to people we have no respect for, on the grounds that they have a nicer suit or car, is what led to the economic crash. Banks and supersized companies alike, favour the cheating robot over the honest and devoted employee. This is not healthy. The Western economies fully deserve the downfall they will suffer in the next century or so as a result. Sooner or later, command capitalism or simply a well educated, well motivated developing nation who admire progress will eat us all alive, unless we learn how to look back and learn.
As individuals, we need to learn to swim against the tide. Every time a stupid acquaintance remarks on our old car or clothes we should learn to righteously sneer at their frivolity and congratulate ourselves at avoiding the great capitalist con that keeps them in debt. There is no actual joy to be gained from being endlessly available or engaged in pursuits that are simply designed to drain our finances into someone else’s pocket.
It is important to remember that the multiplier effect only goes so far. We in the West dropped the idea of real money some years ago, in favour of virtual money that moves as a number without any currency to back it up.
Be ahead of the game, rather than sorry at the end of it. Any economic growth they report now is directly at the expense of another nation, students or sectors of society that you are told to hate, for a variety of increasingly spurious reasons. Hate the fat, hate the elderly, hate the disabled in relation to the welfare bill or the NHS. Hate the Muslims whilst we destroy their countries for yet more gain. Hate whoever they tell you to hate, but do not be deceived that it has anything to do with anything apart from the money.