While I feel good about my personal efforts to cut back on consumption and not suport big corporations, some have remarked to me that, "If everyone was like you, there would be no economy!"
And it's kind of true. Now that the economy has tanked and everyone is buying less to save money out of the fear (or reality) of losing their jobs and 401ks, it only adds to the cycle of making the economy worse. It makes it seem like we're doomed.
But I have some ideas. I'm no expert, so I could be totally wrong here, but these ideas give me some sense of hope:
* What if the loss of corporate jobs opens up room to create green jobs, which Obama says he's going to do (and I certainly hope he does!)?
* What if we buy fewer things, but choose our purchases carefully, to buy from independent stores, businesses, artisans, and farmers - putting more money directly into the hands of individuals who need it, instead of CEOs?
* What if we create more jobs that focus on repairing goods rather than producing new goods, so that instead of throwing things away, there is a network of businesses we can rely on to repair our stuff?
* What if people get used to making do with less, instead of trying to keep up with the Benjamins, so that there's no longer a need for a hypercrazy economy in which you can make a bazillion dollars?
* What if we cultivate creativtity in the design field to turn our cradle to grave consumption system into a cradle to cradle one? Meaning that products are designed from birth to be recycled with maximum efficiency, instead of being designed to be tossed in a landfill and replaced by new resource-hogging products?
On that note, I highly recommend reading Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. It is so well-written with such optimism that it really makes you believe we can harness humanity's incredible intelligence to emulate the life cycles of nature in industry, so that we can return to harmony with the earth, instead of working against the grain and destroying it.