Consumerism’s ‘desert of the real’

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, January 6th, 2014 - 47 comments
Categories: capitalism, culture, Environment, poverty, quality of life, sustainability - Tags: ,

The phrase ‘desert of the real’ comes from the movie the Matrix.  This comes from the point when Neo perceives the ‘real reality” behind the computer simulated reality in which he has been living.  Morpheus says “Welcome to the desert of the real”.

Zizek Slovak drew on this scenario in his article, ‘Welcome to the desert of the real‘, which was specifically focused on the politcal and media manipulations of the events of Spetember 2001 in New York.

The Wachowski brothers’ hit Matrix (1999) brought this logic to its climax: the material reality we all experience and see around us is a virtual one, generated and coordinated by a gigantic mega-computer to which we are all attached; when the hero (played by Keanu Reeves) awakens into the “real reality,” he sees a desolate landscape littered with burned ruins — what remained of Chicago after a global war. The resistance leader Morpheus utters the ironic greeting: “Welcome to the desert of the real.” Was it not something of the similar order that took place in New York on September 11? Its citizens were introduced to the “desert of the real” — to us, corrupted by Hollywood, the landscape and the shots we saw of the collapsing towers could not but remind us of the most breathtaking scenes in the catastrophe big productions.

Reading George Monbiot’s article from early in December, “Materialism: a system that eats us fron the inside out“, I am reminded again of the phrase, “Welcome to the desert of the real”.  Monbiot’s article draws on research that indicates buying loads of stuff tends to be both “socially destructive and self-destructive”: it lowers self-esteem and results in dissatisfaction and depression.  Monbiot describes consumerism’s version of the desert of the real behind the propaganda that promises the good life through endless spending.

But there is something in the pictures posted on Rich Kids of Instagram (and highlighted by the Guardian last week) that inspires more than the usual revulsion towards crude displays of opulence. There is a shadow in these photos – photos of a young man wearing all four of his Rolex watches, a youth posing in front of his helicopter, endless pictures of cars, yachts, shoes, mansions, swimming pools and spoilt white boys throwing gangster poses in private jets – of something worse: something that, after you have seen a few dozen, becomes disorienting, even distressing.

The pictures are, of course, intended to incite envy. They reek instead of desperation. The young men and women seem lost in their designer clothes, dwarfed and dehumanised by their possessions, as if ownership has gone into reverse. A girl’s head barely emerges from the haul of Chanel, Dior and Hermes shopping bags she has piled on her vast bed. It’s captioned “shoppy shoppy” and “#goldrush”, but a photograph whose purpose is to illustrate plenty seems instead to depict a void. She’s alone with her bags and her image in the mirror, in a scene that seems saturated with despair.

The images Monbiot links to are these:

 

 

Other research cited by Monbiot shows that people in a controlled experiment, who

were repeatedly exposed to images of luxury goods, to messages that cast them as consumers rather than citizens and to words associated with materialism (such as buy, status, asset and expensive), experienced immediate but temporary increases in material aspirations, anxiety and depression. They also became more competitive and more selfish, had a reduced sense of social responsibility and were less inclined to join in demanding social activities.

Another piece of research found a two-way impact between materialism and loneliness – each having a tendency to increase the other.

So behind the consumerist facade of the alleged reality that consumer capitalism creates the goodlife, there is a barren reality of consumerism self-destructively eating its consumers.  And, at the same time, rampant consumerism is consuming the world’s resources, creating environmental destruction in ways that will ultimately destroy capitalism and its illusions.

According to a post on the Alliance Party website, citing Bryce Edwards, people are becoming burnt out or “bored with economic inequality and poverty issues“.  Or perhaps too many are just unwilling to face up the the “desert of the real” and look critically at our current system; too unwilling to consider the system they (to a greater or lesser extent) accept, needs to change.

47 comments on “Consumerism’s ‘desert of the real’ ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Very finely put together post karol.

    Or perhaps too many are just unwilling to face up the the “desert of the real” and look critically at our current system; too unwilling to consider the system they (to a greater or lesser extent) accept, needs to change.

    When the mind and the heart are pulled in two directions, the heart always wins. Our hearts have been seduced by several generations of precisely calibrated advertising and propaganda, and while in our rational minds we know ‘inequality is a bad thing’ we quickly get bored with it, because there is no immediate payback. Easier to go shopping again.

    I’ll cheat and blockquote the rest of Alliance article:

    It is perhaps time think of policies that would reduce inequality and promote social justice as universal policies that would benefit everyone and present them as such, rather than as targeted at a certain sector.

    Everyone would be better off if all healthcare was free, even doctors visits and prescriptions. Everyone would better off if education at every level was totally free, right down to school camps and materials for practical classes. Everyone would be better off if interest free home loans were offered to all first home buyers (up to a set price in each area). And everyone would be better off if interest free loans were offered to all homeowners to insulate, double glaze, and install a means of heating their home up a set value (around the cost of a upgrading a modest three bedroom home, perhaps).

    Everyone would be better off if there was a universal basic income whether people are in paid work or not, and a universal child allowance. No one need feel guilty or inadequate for receiving help. Nor could anyone complain if everyone got the same entitlements. Though higher earners would pay higher taxes.

    My attention was drawn by that word ‘universal’. Something that’s in the ordinary best interests of everyone.

    • karol 1.1

      Thanks, RL.

      And yes, I do usually agree with “universal” (social security, financial) benefits – easier to administer, less likely to divide the “deserving” from the “underserving” poor..

      But the term “universal” in the allocation of money, doesn’t actually apply to all people, though, it is available to all people in specific circumstances. Child allowances, for instance, only apply to those with children under a certain age. The focus on “home owners” re-insualtion only applies to home owners and includes rentiers. And yes, everyone benefits from a well designed and comprehensive social security system.

      Agree with UBI.

      But I see the alliance still thinks there’d be a need for progressive taxation.

      The alliance solutions don’t provide any solutions for weaning people off their consumer addictions.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        The alliance solutions don’t provide any solutions for weaning people off their consumer addictions.

        Neither does any other party. In fact, they all go on about higher incomes so that people can have more and thus fueling the consumer addiction.

        The only way to address this would be through the removal of money and moving the economy to full democracy. Then the discussion and voting would be about what everyone gets and how to provide it. No more of some people having more than others which forces poverty upon the many.

    • karol 1.2

      On “universal” and its diverse meanings or uses: Just read Morgan Godfery’s latest post on Maori politics. And am reminded of the “universalising” tendencies of western imperialism – including the more liberal versions of it.

      Parekura understood that Maori politics is (literally, culturally and spiritually) relationship-based. That’s not to say Maori politics can’t think beyond its relationships, rather the practise of Maori politics is particularised.
      […]
      The art of Maori politics reflects the importance of its intellectual foundations: ideas like rangatiratanga, mana whenua, mana moana, whakapapa, kanohi kitea, ahi kaa and so on. Each idea is relationship based – for example mana whenua is about the local relationship with the land – and each idea manifests itself differently from hapu to hapu, iwi to iwi and locality to locality. For that reason, it’s difficult to universalise Maori politics.
      […]
      The New Zealand political tendency (and the Western tendency, see colonisation and globalisation) is to universalise its values and experiences.
      […]
      The logic of Maori politics is different. Parties and candidates that particularise and integrate with Maori concepts will be more successful.

      “Universal” – different meanings, and implications when applied to various aspects of financial arrangements and/or culture.

      • weka 1.2.1

        “My attention was drawn by that word ‘universal’. Something that’s in the ordinary best interests of everyone.”

        Yeah, this.

        In the recent debate here I’ve been thinking that one of my reactions against one of the presented arguments is my discomfit with pitting the working/underclasses needs against those the middle classes. Didn’t want to say anything because I was unsure how much of that discomfit was from my own residual middle classdom. But I think that the pitting against fails for 2 reasons.

        One is that we need the middle classes to change (themselves and society), and telling them they’re greedy selfish fucks who have to learn how to share and care is not a winning strategy. They still have lots of resources for making change and we need to find ways of engaging that.

        The other is that the middle classes who are feeling the pinch are less likely to attend to overall poverty issues when they are being told that others are more deserving than they (plus the bit above about being told they’re greedy selfish fucks). This is just human nature, and a feature of the middle classes who will see their own suffering within its own context not the context if people they don’t have much or anything to do with.

        (just made some broad generalisations there).

        I like what Edwards is saying in the Alliance article. If we make this about everyone, then we are promoting the very community and bridge building that neoliberalism has tried to detroy. We can also reframe wellbeing as people can feel good about themselves when working towards the good of the whole community as well as their own needs.

        The question then is this: can we develop politics that are proactive in promoting universal wellbeing at the same time as keeping a dialogue going about the very real issues that affect the worst off?

        (The danger in the universal approach is that it risks being co-opted by the middle classes who think they are working for everyone but are in fact just reinforcing their own privilege first (looking at you Labour, and you Josie Pagani et al).)

        • karol 1.2.1.1

          Some very good points, weka.

          It’s about a kind of double-focus – double helix – everything connected ultimately.

          I think there is in fact, no clear cut divide between middle and working classes. In marxist terms, most of us are the proletariat, selling our labour to the ruling classes. We are all given a certain amount of privileges, some more than others – that suck us into the system. Many in the “middle classes” are one misfortune away from joining the least well off – so tend to cling to our privileges. And the ruling class will start to withdraw privileges if we look to be too blatantly, and too effectively challenging the system.

        • KJT 1.2.1.2

          If everything is universal there is less motivation for the upper classes to sabotage it.

          Because they are getting it to..

          Look at super.

    • weka 1.3

      Our hearts and our minds, but also our dna. Part of this picture is that deeply embedded in us via evolution is the urge to gather and store resources – humans for most of their history have had cycles of excess and lack, that’s been the norm, so we are probably hardwired to make the most of abundance when it is in front of us (hardwired here doesn’t mean compelled, it means that we have a built in propensity. We still have choice too).

      The really bad bit IMO is that capitalism and the consumerist society have now trained that propensity in such extreme and bizarre ways. I have no idea how that could be undone. Some people frame it as a spiritual crisis (I don’t mean religious). Which is possibly true, and is akin to what karol raises in terms of impact (depression etc). But again, where is the answer, the how to change? (and please don’t tell me to smash capitalism or a variation of, because that’s not a how either).

      This is why Peak Oil and Peak Everything are probably the saving grace of the whole mess.

      • Ennui 1.3.1

        Not sure Peak anything will be a saving grace, there seems to be a human urge to keep consuming even when the end result is patently obvious. Hence I reckon the oil will all get used up even if it kills us all in the process. Its actually as K points out profoundly depressing if you dwell on it too much.

        So how to change? IMHO that’s a very individual choice: cut your carbon foot print (not as easy as it sounds…there are countless gotchas), stop consuming what you dont need…..even that is difficult. I plant things, grow things, gather the same…this however probably has only a tiny impact on my consumption.

        To keep the sanity, hows this for a quote from one of the most divisive dangerous and damaging men in history…”If I knew the world was going to end tomorrow I would still plant this apple tree today”. (Martin Luther).

        • weka 1.3.1.1

          Individual choices yes, and then encouraging that amongst our fellow humans. There are lots of self-interest benefits to reducing consumption and planting apple trees 🙂

          We need that AND other strategies. Individual choices alone aren’t enough IMO.

          Re Peak Everything, once people have to think about food and fuel shortages in their daily lives, a fast reprioritising of what is important in what and how we consume will ensue 😉

      • Bill 1.3.2

        Just not sure about any evolutionary urge to gather and store. Maybe I’m being simplistic and missing your point, but I have no basic urge (as I presumably would) to blanch and store excess garden produce for example – even though I recognise that would be an intelligent thing to do and that it’s well within my ability to do so. As a result, a fair amount goes to seed if it’s not given away. Anyway…

        That aside, the implication is that capitalism and consumerism is merely reflective of and a natural progression or expression of these urges to gather and store…except that we now gather and store ‘stuff’ instead of nuts and berries.

        If that was the case, then any explanatory analysis on the formation of capitalism that points to the inordinate amount of violence and compulsion that accompanied capitalism’s rise… that claims it was necessarily unleashed to overcome and defeat resistance…would have to be viewed as completely beside the point …even wrong headed.

        I tend to go with the ideas along the lines of that we used to fill our lives (and find meaning) by filling it with relationships (community). And I think it is no small coincidence that consumerism has risen as community has diminished.

        So, now we are atomised and alienated to a remarkable degree. And we compete rather than cooperate to attain even the most basic of material goods or necessities…it’s ‘natural’ we are told or tell ourselves…always been this way, we say…. while overlooking the very unnatural historical record of resistance and compulsion.

        Anyway, if we achieve the basic material needs and if we aren’t bound by poverty, then maybe it’s just a simple fact that we are encouraged through fashion and advertising to tend towards filling any ongoing sense of dissatisfaction or sense that ‘something is missing’ via the obvious route of buying stuff and craving stuff and generally, in summary, of ‘chasing the dragon’.

        Other routes, such as religion or drugs are available, but they ain’t exactly encouraged (not so money to be made there). And community? Forget it. It was community that had stood in the way of what we have today. And hey, anyway – you have the power to choose and make decisions ‘down the mall’. So you are a fully engaged and normal, functioning person.

        Solutions? Well, opting out and simply not buying stuff does nothing much…not unless it’s done in conjunction with reclaiming and exercising meaningful power over our own life’s. And we can’t do that in isolation…we need each other – community. And, I’d argue, that has to be done with a commitment to rediscovering and developing democratic ways of interacting and doing things at every opportunity that presents itself, otherwise we wind up right back where we started in one form or another – if we even ever leave in the first place.

        • Saarbo 1.3.2.1

          “I tend to go with the ideas along the lines of that we used to fill our lives (and find meaning) by filling it with relationships (community). And I think it is no small coincidence that consumerism has risen as community has diminished.”

          Yes, and the driver of the loss of “community” is the demise of the 40 hour week, when people have to work through the weekend then there is no way they can socialise normally.

          Sports clubs no longer function they way they used to in the 70’s because too many young people have to work weekends, other institutions that used to facilitate community building suffer in a similar way I am sure.

          • Bill 1.3.2.1.1

            Yes, and the driver of the loss of “community” is the demise of the 40 hour week..

            There are lots of drivers, but sure, the loss of the 40 hours working week is one. There’s a host of others, some blatant and others more subtle, some with large impacts and others with smaller impacts. The deliberate physical dispersal of inner city communities post WWII in some places…TV…a shift away from the situation where your neighbour was probably also your workmate…the automobile…the rise of the ‘out of town’ supermarket that killed smaller local businesses….and on, and on, and on.

          • Flip 1.3.2.1.2

            ‘Private wealth public poverty, private poverty public wealth.’

            A saying picked up from somewhere that says it well.

        • weka 1.3.2.2

          Just not sure about any evolutionary urge to gather and store. Maybe I’m being simplistic and missing your point, but I have no basic urge (as I presumably would) to blanch and store excess garden produce for example – even though I recognise that would be an intelligent thing to do and that it’s well within my ability to do so. As a result, a fair amount goes to seed if it’s not given away. Anyway…

          Evolution doesn’t compel individuals in the way you suggest. Consider the idea that humans are hardwired to desire fat and sweet foods. This is because the people that survived to reproduce were those that were most likely to not only have access to nutrients for survival (fat) and grow big brains (sugar), but they were the ones most likey to eat more of it. This doesn’t mean that all people now are like that, just that the propensity is there. Further theorising, human cultures have long been tribal and interdependent ie the tribal unit also gained evolutionary advantage by certain behaviours, so it’s possible that not everyone in the tribe needed to be a hoarder.

          However I wasn’t really meaning a squirreling away type of thing. I was more meaning that because many gatherer/hunter peoples evolve through boom and bust cycles within their lives, if they came across a bee hive full of honey say or a herd of bison, then their survival was dependent on taking advantage of that right there and then to the fullest, and those people that did that the best survived better and passed on the ‘gene’ for doing best to their offspring. It’s my favourite theory currently for the human tendancy to overshoot. Most cultures have done it, some have learnt from it and adapted to try and not do it, others haven’t.

          There is probably another evolutionary aspect there – that having lots makes one satiated. This obviously works on a food/physiological level. I’m suggesting it might work for things like firewood, tools, clothing, etc too.

          That aside, the implication is that capitalism and consumerism is merely reflective of and a natural progression or expression of these urges to gather and store…except that we now gather and store ‘stuff’ instead of nuts and berries.

          If that was the case, then any explanatory analysis on the formation of capitalism that points to the inordinate amount of violence and compulsion that accompanied capitalism’s rise… that claims it was necessarily unleashed to overcome and defeat resistance…would have to be viewed as completely beside the point …even wrong headed.

          Only if you think that things are uni-causal, or that one valid cause negates another. I don’t see any contradiction between the evolutionary ideas I’ve suggested and theories around the rise of capitalism say 5,000 years ago (if that’s what you were referring to). My main issue with the 5,000 yr theory is that there is still no explanation as to why people chose to settle en masse in the first place. But maybe I’ve misunderstood and you were meaning the last few hundred years (even then, I don’t see a contradiction). I often wonder if our disagreements or missing each other are because of timeframes.

          I tend to go with the ideas along the lines of that we used to fill our lives (and find meaning) by filling it with relationships (community). And I think it is no small coincidence that consumerism has risen as community has diminished.

          Completely agree.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.3.2.2.1

            My main issue with the 5,000 yr theory is that there is still no explanation as to why people chose to settle en masse in the first place.

            That’s been known for some time – the development of agriculture between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago.

            • weka 1.3.2.2.1.1

              What I meant was it doesn’t explain why people chose agriculture in that particular way. Other people at other times made different choices, or evolved differently.

              • Draco T Bastard

                What I meant was it doesn’t explain why people chose agriculture in that particular way.

                Because it resulted in a more stable food supply. Of course, we’re really only hypothesising over that as we have only archaeological digs as writing didn’t appear until about 5000 years ago.

                The first statement of yours I quoted has absolutely no connection with the second. There’s no way that I could get your second statement from your first.

                • weka

                  It’s one sentence in a very long post about something else entirely, all written while I was very tired. Really, this is what you want to talk to me about?

                  I understand well enough the theories about the rise of agriculture and the relationship between that and capitalism and other things. I’m surprised you don’t know this about me because we’ve had this conversation quite a few times before, and there aren’t that many people on ts who talk about this stuff.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.3

        But again, where is the answer, the how to change? (and please don’t tell me to smash capitalism or a variation of, because that’s not a how either).

        Replace capitalism with democracy and a resource based economy. How to do this is education about how bad the present system is and a vision of how a democratic resource based system would be better for the majority of people, i.e, using present democratic systems forcing the change against the wishes of business people and the two main political parties.

  2. just saying 2

    And yet, whether at the back of our minds, or on the tip of our tongues-
    everybody knows…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUfS8LyeUyM

  3. tricledrown 3

    Other research points out that money can only buy a limited amount of happiness.
    Once your income hits $75,000 or more the maximum gain is only a meagre 3%.

  4. Pasupial 4

    Karol

    Spelling error “speicifcally” in 2nd line below clip.

    Otherwise an important, if depressing, post for these; after holiday budgeting every penny days. Those images mainly have me wondering at the credit card balances of the youths depicted.

  5. Ad 5

    The heroic positioning here – that those who refuse to shop are resisting an enormous insidious complex – is just a wee bit simplistic and self defeating.

    There are many false binaries one could put up as alternatives. I don’t need to repeat comparable cartoons about all kinds of activists that we get on Whaleoil and others.

    Monbiot is one of those commentators who sees the world as so fucked that the message is one of simple melancholy. It’s as unhelpfully extreme as Gordon Gekko snarling “Greed is good.”

    • Tracey 5.1

      if you have time could you further clarify these two points from your post?

      “…and self defeating”

      “There are many false binaries one could put up as alternatives. “

    • Naturesong 5.2

      For a slightly more in-depth, though still really a summary, of the history leading up to this state of affairs check out the BBC documentary series The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis.

  6. Tracey 6

    Some things are worth repeating

    “were repeatedly exposed to images of luxury goods, to messages that cast them as consumers rather than citizens and to words associated with materialism (such as buy, status, asset and expensive), experienced immediate but temporary increases in material aspirations, anxiety and depression. They also became more competitive and more selfish, had a reduced sense of social responsibility and were less inclined to join in demanding social activities.”

    This past few days I have been thinking more and more about Plato’s cave and those shadows

  7. infused 7

    Thought this was pretty much common sense.

  8. infused 8

    Also, reason most of these kids are rich these days is the tech bubble is flairing up again. So many new companies getting millions, if not billions thrown at them.

    • Tracey 8.1

      “Celebrities, businesses and even the US State Department have bought bogus Facebook likes, Twitter followers or YouTube viewers from offshore “click farms,” where workers tap, tap, tap the thumbs up button, view videos or retweet comments to inflate social media numbers.

      Since Facebook launched almost 10 years ago, users have sought to expand their social networks for financial gain, winning friends, bragging rights and professional clout. And social media companies cite the levels of engagement to tout their value.

      But an Associated Press examination has found a growing global marketplace for fake clicks, which tech companies struggle to police. Online records, industry studies and interviews show companies are capitalizing on the opportunity to make millions of dollars by duping social media.

      For as little as a half cent per each click, websites hawk everything from LinkedIn connections to make members appear more employable to Soundcloud plays to influence record label interest.

      “Anytime there’s a monetary value added to clicks, there’s going to be people going to the dark side,” said Mitul Gandhi, CEO of seoClarity, a Des Plaines, Illinois, social media marketing firm that weeds out phony online engagements.

  9. tricledrown 9

    So what is the altenative to all this endless consumerism.
    How do we change.
    Just looking around my house the number of gizmo’s we don’t need 3/4’s of them .
    But jobs will Go in the short term so what do we do instead.
    We need to look at viable alternatives if you want people to change.

    • Ennui 9.1

      Tricledrown, could not agree more: one of my bad acquisitive hobbies is looking (and rarely buying) old kitchen utensils, tools etc that predate plastic and mass production….things like hand cracked bean slicers, hand powered mincers etc. Wonderful, the funny thing is most of them cant easily break, are as good as new and do a better job. We have progressed (?).

      • karol 9.1.1

        I’ve tried moving away from plastic containers to china or glass. Unfortunately the glass breaks much more easily.

        • Ennui 9.1.1.1

          Catch 22. I do some bottling and preserving, especially at this time of year. Glass is best for that, having said that for general dry storage plastic is good and lasts (without breaking) forever.

        • Naturesong 9.1.1.2

          Glass is pretty good actually.

          I have my Grandmothers old glass lemon juicer (just a representative, so you can see the type of juicer I’m talking about).

          It is heavy, roughly finished, you can see and feel the obvious ridges from the mold it came from.
          About 100 years old now, it was a cheap item back then, and is hardy enough to survive being dropped on the wooden kitchen floor more than a few times.

          It’s my most treasured kitchen utensil (except for maybe my two main chefs knives) and is a constant reminder that if you buy a tool, it is best to get one that will last for a lifetime (as it will pay for itself many times over).

          • karol 9.1.1.2.1

            My mum had one of those juices. Currently my kitchen floor has ceramic tiles – very unkind to glass dropped on it.

      • infused 9.1.2

        Can’t beat old utils…

  10. captain hook 10

    the present state of rampant consumerism is like a psychotic grab for anything you can get before the shit hits the fan.
    the world is slowly going mad and its a race before it all craps out and keeping up with the joneses in a futile contest of emulation that is doomed to failure.

  11. captain hook 11

    and once the good earth produced trees and animals and now its malls and plastic fluffy jobs for deluded infants.
    not looking good.

  12. Danyl 12

    The ‘Desert of the Real’ concept traces back through Baudrillard to a very short story by Borges:

    . . . In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

  13. Ad 13

    So lets try a few things out here.

    1. Shopping is better at feeding our libidinal drives than sex now is. As cigarettes are just a nicotine delivery device, so shopping is a desire-delivery device. And even more accurate and sustained for hours of pleasure in its targeting.

    2. Shopping is far more real than commenting about it on the Internet. A bit rich pal.

    3. The author is simply spurning the analog world (represented by shopping) because they can’t afford it. Shopping is confirmed as the nexus of desire that only the 1% can do at will, precisely because authors such as Monbiot despise it and despair of it. The Queen of the Elves said “All shall love me, and despair.” She was talking about the Smith and Caughey’s sale.

    4. Shopping is perfectly gendered as a response to patriarchy. Male cortisol levels achieve those of fighter pilots when faced with a supermarket and children and female spouse. Women get to enjoy transaction and value and courtship, without any of the actual mess of relationships (which are predominantly male). Males need man-crèches to enable shopping. Overall, malls subvert patriarchy.

    5. Shopping is the most intellectual activity most people do. As a reprieve from driving and domestic drudgery, watching television, and the ridiculous elitism of sport, shopping is a perpetual calculation of desire, timing, savings, credit, usefulness and anomistic uselessness, art, glamour, beauty, and of course class calibration. Shopping is the only artform devoted entirely to pleasuring you across the whole field of your mind’s happiness.

    6. Shopping, not video games, is the primary replacement for art. Advertising deploys all the techniques that five millennia of art making have taught us. And then, with a personal transaction of value, gives you something in return to make real in the world. Shopping in this sense is magical behaviour, all the religion we will now ever need.

  14. Flip 14

    Wow. The commentary here was outstanding. It gave me so much to think about and it is great to see thoughts put so well. I kept writing responses but they kept getting longer and were taking some time by which time the moment had past.

    There will have to be many changes to change this self destructive behaviour but I’ll put up a couple of the ideas I had written in a response to http://thestandard.org.nz/new-zealand-is-doing-nothing-about-climate-change/ which would help move us to a less consumeristic society and prolong the planets resources and humanities quality of existence.

    1. Tax waste. Waste in production, waste in usage and waste in disposal. Waste should not be a tradeable commodity. (including GHG) The tax would be used to reduce resource demand, recycle and reuse waste if possible, and to provide for the loss of the resources for future generations.

    2. .Have a ‘Ministry/Commissioner for the Future’ to represent future generations who are not represented in our current systems. All policies/laws would have to be reviewed and account for future generations needs.

  15. Tracey 15

    We still have my mother in laws dryer. It is over 35 years old. Things are deliberately not made to last together with bullshit pricing for parts and repair.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Huge interest in Government’s infrastructure plans
    Hundreds of people in little over a week have turned out in Northland to hear Regional Development Minister Shane Jones speak about plans for boosting the regional economy through infrastructure. About 200 people from the infrastructure and associated sectors attended an event headlined by Mr Jones in Whangarei today. Last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Health Minister thanks outgoing Health New Zealand Chair
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti has today thanked outgoing Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Chair Dame Karen Poutasi for her service on the Board.   “Dame Karen tendered her resignation as Chair and as a member of the Board today,” says Dr Reti.  “I have asked her to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Roads of National Significance planning underway
    The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has signalled their proposed delivery approach for the Government’s 15 Roads of National Significance (RoNS), with the release of the State Highway Investment Proposal (SHIP) today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Navigating an unstable global environment
    New Zealand is renewing its connections with a world facing urgent challenges by pursuing an active, energetic foreign policy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Our country faces the most unstable global environment in decades,” Mr Peters says at the conclusion of two weeks of engagements in Egypt, Europe and the United States.    “We cannot afford to sit back in splendid ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • NZ welcomes Australian Governor-General
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Australian Governor-General, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley and his wife Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, will make a State visit to New Zealand from Tuesday 16 April to Thursday 18 April. The visit reciprocates the State visit of former Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for Winter
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour has announced that Medsafe has approved 11 cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Pharmaceutical suppliers have indicated they may be able to supply the first products in June. “This is much earlier than the original expectation of medicines being available by 2025. The Government recognised ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • NZ and the US: an ever closer partnership
    New Zealand and the United States have recommitted to their strategic partnership in Washington DC today, pledging to work ever more closely together in support of shared values and interests, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “The strategic environment that New Zealand and the United States face is considerably more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Joint US and NZ declaration
    April 11, 2024 Joint Declaration by United States Secretary of State the Honorable Antony J. Blinken and New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs the Right Honourable Winston Peters We met today in Washington, D.C. to recommit to the historic partnership between our two countries and the principles that underpin it—rule ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • NZ and US to undertake further practical Pacific cooperation
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further New Zealand cooperation with the United States in the Pacific Islands region through $16.4 million in funding for initiatives in digital connectivity and oceans and fisheries research.   “New Zealand can achieve more in the Pacific if we work together more urgently and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Government redress for Te Korowai o Wainuiārua
    The Government is continuing the bipartisan effort to restore its relationship with iwi as the Te Korowai o Wainuiārua Claims Settlement Bill passed its first reading in Parliament today, says Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith. “Historical grievances of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua relate to 19th century warfare, land purchased or taken ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Focus on outstanding minerals permit applications
    New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals is working to resolve almost 150 outstanding minerals permit applications by the end of the financial year, enabling valuable mining activity and signalling to the sector that New Zealand is open for business, Resources Minister Shane Jones says.  “While there are no set timeframes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Applications open for NZ-Ireland Research Call
    The New Zealand and Irish governments have today announced that applications for the 2024 New Zealand-Ireland Joint Research Call on Agriculture and Climate Change are now open. This is the third research call in the three-year Joint Research Initiative pilot launched in 2022 by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ireland’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tenancy rules changes to improve rental market
    The coalition Government has today announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to encourage landlords back to the rental property market, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The previous Government waged a war on landlords. Many landlords told us this caused them to exit the rental market altogether. It caused worse ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Boosting NZ’s trade and agricultural relationship with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay will visit China next week, to strengthen relationships, support Kiwi exporters and promote New Zealand businesses on the world stage. “China is one of New Zealand’s most significant trade and economic relationships and remains an important destination for New Zealand’s products, accounting for nearly 22 per cent of our good and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Freshwater farm plan systems to be improved
    The coalition Government intends to improve freshwater farm plans so that they are more cost-effective and practical for farmers, Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay have announced. “A fit-for-purpose freshwater farm plan system will enable farmers and growers to find the right solutions for their farm ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Fast Track Projects advisory group named
    The coalition Government has today announced the expert advisory group who will provide independent recommendations to Ministers on projects to be included in the Fast Track Approvals Bill, say RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones. “Our Fast Track Approval process will make it easier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pacific and Gaza focus of UN talks
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters says his official talks with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York today focused on a shared commitment to partnering with the Pacific Islands region and a common concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.    “Small states in the Pacific rely on collective ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government honours Taranaki Maunga deal
    The Government is honouring commitments made to Taranaki iwi with the Te Pire Whakatupua mō Te Kāhui Tupua/Taranaki Maunga Collective Redress Bill passing its first reading Parliament today, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “This Bill addresses the commitment the Crown made to the eight iwi of Taranaki to negotiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Enhanced partnership to reduce agricultural emissions
    The Government and four further companies are together committing an additional $18 million towards AgriZeroNZ to boost New Zealand’s efforts to reduce agricultural emissions. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the strength of the New Zealand economy relies on us getting effective and affordable emission reduction solutions for New Zealand. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 110km/h limit proposed for Kāpiti Expressway
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will begin consultation this month on raising speed limits for the Kāpiti Expressway to 110km/h. “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and this proposal supports that outcome ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Biosecurity Awards – Winners announced
    Two New Zealanders who’ve used their unique skills to help fight the exotic caulerpa seaweed are this year’s Biosecurity Awards Supreme Winners, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard. “Strong biosecurity is vital and underpins the whole New Zealand economy and our native flora and fauna. These awards celebrate all those in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Attendance action plan to lift student attendance rates
    The Government is taking action to address the truancy crisis and raise attendance by delivering the attendance action plan, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today.   New Zealand attendance rates are low by national and international standards. Regular attendance, defined as being in school over 90 per cent of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • World must act to halt Gaza catastrophe – Peters
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Gaza to halt the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.    “Palestinian civilians continue to bear the brunt of Israel’s military actions,” Mr Peters said in his speech to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to United Nations General Assembly: 66th plenary meeting, 78th session
    Mr President,   The situation in Gaza is an utter catastrophe.   New Zealand condemns Hamas for its heinous terrorist attacks on 7 October and since, including its barbaric violations of women and children. All of us here must demand that Hamas release all remaining hostages immediately.   At the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government woolshed roadshow kicks off
    Today the Government Agriculture Ministers started their national woolshed roadshow, kicking off in the Wairarapa. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said it has been a tough time for farmers over the past few years. The sector has faced high domestic inflation rates, high interest rates, adverse weather events, and increasing farm ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PM heads to Singapore, Thailand, and Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines this week (April 14-20), along with a senior business delegation, signalling the Government’s commitment to deepen New Zealand’s international engagement, especially our relationships in South East Asia. “South East Asia is a region that is more crucial than ever to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister launches Government Targets
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced further steps to get New Zealand back on track, launching nine ambitious Government Targets to help improve the lives of New Zealanders. “Our Government has a plan that is focused on three key promises we made to New Zealanders – to rebuild the economy, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Natural hydrogen resource should be free of Treaty claims entanglement
    Natural hydrogen could be a game-changing new source of energy for New Zealand but it is essential it is treated as a critical development that benefits all New Zealanders, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones is seeking to give regulatory certainty for those keen to develop natural, or geological, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government responds to unsustainable net migration
    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand on stage at global Space Symposium
    Space Minister Judith Collins will speak at the Space Symposium in the United States next week, promoting New Zealand’s rapidly growing place in the sector as we work to rebuild the economy. “As one of the largest global space events, attended by more than 10,000 business and government representatives from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $4.9m project completed with marae reopening
    A significant marae has reopened in the heart of Rotorua marking the end of renovations for the Ruatāhuna Marae Renovation Cluster, a project that provided much-needed jobs and regional economic stimulus, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones was at the official reopening of Mātaatua ki Rotorua Marae today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Pure Tūroa Limited to operate Tūroa ski field
    Ko Tahuarangi te waka – Tahuarangi is the ancestral vessel Ko Rangitukutuku te aho – Rangitukutuku is the fishing line Ko Pikimairawea te matau – Pikimairawea is the hook Ko Hāhā te Whenua te ika kei rō-wai – Hāhā te whenua is the fish (of Māui) whilst under the ocean ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Methane targets to be independently reviewed
    Rebuilding New Zealand’s economy will rely on the valuable agricultural sector working sustainably towards our climate change goals.  Today, the Climate Change and Agriculture Ministers announced that an independent panel of experts will review agricultural biogenic methane science and targets for consistency with no additional warming. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ and Nordics: likeminded partners
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has highlighted the strong ties that bind New Zealand and the Nordic countries of Northern Europe during a trip to Sweden today.    “There are few countries in the world more likeminded with New Zealand than our friends in Northern Europe,” Mr Peters says.    “We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First New Zealand C-130J Hercules takes flight
    The first New Zealand C-130J Hercules to come off the production line in the United States has successfully completed its first test flights, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. “These successful flights are a significant milestone for the New Zealand Defence Force, bringing this once-in-a-generation renewal of a critical airlift ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to rephase NCEA Change Programme
      The coalition Government is making significant changes to the NCEA Change Programme, delaying the implementation by two years, Minister of Education Erica Stanford announced today. “Ensuring New Zealand’s curriculum is world leading is a vital part of the Government’s plan to deliver better public services and ensure all students ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Ngāpuhi investment fund Chair appointed
    Ben Dalton has been appointed the new board Chair of Tupu Tonu, the Ngāpuhi Investment Fund, says Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Finance Minister Shane Jones. “Ben brings a wealth of experience in governance and economic development to the position. He will have a strong focus on ensuring ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Education should be prioritised ahead of protesting
    Students should be in school and learning instead of protesting during school hours, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “If students feel strongly about sending a message, they could have marched on Tuesday when there was a nationwide teacher only day, or during the upcoming school holidays. It has become ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Delivering on Local Water Done Well
    Cabinet has agreed on key steps to implement Local Water Done Well, the Coalition Government’s plan for financially sustainable locally delivered water infrastructure and services, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says.  "Councils and voters resoundingly rejected Labour’s expensive and bureaucratic Three Waters regime, and earlier this year the Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Peters to visit New York, Washington D.C.
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will engage with high-level United States Government and United Nations officials in the United States next week (6-12 April).    The visit, with programmes in New York and Washington D.C., will focus on major global and regional security challenges and includes meetings with US Secretary of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-04-12T14:11:36+00:00