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Diane Rehm: Holiday Shopping & the Economy; some rather heated comments from disgruntled "consumers"

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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 11:55 AM
Original message
Diane Rehm: Holiday Shopping & the Economy; some rather heated comments from disgruntled "consumers"
http://thedianerehmshow.org/audio-player?nid=15054

Black Friday comes early this year as some retailers open their doors Thanksgiving night in hopes of cashing in. Holiday spending and what it could mean for the economy.

Guests
James Roberts professor of marketing and W.A. Mays Professor of Entrepreneurship at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, and author of "Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don't Have in Search of Happiness We Can't Buy"

Ylan Mui Washington Post's consumer reporter

Mark Zandi chief economist of Moody's Analytics and author of "Financial Shock" and the forthcoming book, "Paying the Price."

Ellen Davis Vice President of the National Retail Federation


/snip

A number of folks were quite passionate in voicing their opinion on the subject of "consumerism". Seems like the OWS contingent got some licks in too.

At moments cringe-worthy, but they were saying what needs to be said:

1- We are NOT consumers. We are Citizens

2- It is ridiculous to expect people's spending to be the engine of the economy.

3- This shopping "holiday" only benefits Wall Street and the 1%.

and so on.

Give it a listen if you have time.

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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
1. What was the panel's overall reaction? n/t
Edited on Wed Nov-23-11 12:00 PM by deutsey
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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. The author (James Roberts) was eager to take up the subjects.
Edited on Wed Nov-23-11 12:02 PM by TalkingDog
The National Retailers Rep.... not so much.

edited for clarity
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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. LOL! Thanks
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. Yup. What we are witnessing in OWS is a demand for a fundamental change in national priorities
from profits to human beings.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
5. "It is ridiculous to expect people's spending to be the engine of the economy."
Edited on Wed Nov-23-11 12:07 PM by redqueen
Wait, what?

Consumer spending IS the engine that drives the economy. This is the foundational principle of economics on which 'bubble up' theories are based.

I'm confused, maybe this person meant to criticize this particular day, Black Friday. I've always thought it was total nonsense but whatever the traffic will bear, right?
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. Oddly enough, after listening to a few minutes of the discussion,
I have a better understanding of Black Friday shoppers. Many people do consider shopping to be entertainment, so Black Friday is to them what a Stones concert or vacation cruise might be to someone else. My family likes to eat, talk and maybe watch a movie. My SIL watches all the football he can.
The problem is that store clerks who want to keep their jobs end up working the holiday while the rest of us celebrate.
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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. I think the problem comes in when some people are "entertained" at the expense of others.
A concert is given by people who want to play music. Football played by people who want to play.

Jobs, especially in this economy, can be used as a form of blackmail. Work or else.

So yes, you said it exactly right: "The problem is that store clerks who want to keep their jobs end up working the holiday while the rest of us celebrate."
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MattBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. This is why I will not go out on black friday
Should be a federal law mandating triple time for anyone who has to work after 12am Thursday and 6am on Friday.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
7. Not sure I undersatand this point.

2- It is ridiculous to expect people's spending to be the engine of the economy. If not spending by the 99%, what economic engine is there? Certainly, the combined spending of the 1% can't sustain the economy...they can buy just so many cars, TV's, jewelry, vacations, etc. Their purchases, while expensive, are not nearly enough to justify large scale economic activity.

I'd suggest we are both consumers and citizens...I saw a commercial last night that asks people do their spending with small business owners this season. I think that's what we'll end up doing. We don't have a lot of money to spend on crappy stuff, but we'll probably buy local crafts that are handmade and unique.
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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I think she meant in light of the fact that wages have been stagnant for decades (?)
and costs have gone up. The only people who have the money to fuel the economy is the 1% and they either won't or can't spend it fast enough.

I was paraphrasing... since I didn't take notes. But if you listen to the podcast helpfully provided, perhaps you can hear it in the speakers own terms.
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Our economic assumptions are sick at their core.
economic assumptions are sick at their core.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/how-the-gdp-is-leading-us_b_637037.html


John Robbins
Posted: July 6, 2010 06:13 PM

How The GDP Is Leading Us Terribly Astray

....

How do we measure our nation's economic performance? The answer, for more than seventy- five years, has been the gross national product (GNP) and its nearly identical twin, the gross domestic product (GDP).

....
Unfortunately, using the GDP to measure prosperity and assess economic well-being is leading us terribly astray. It is a statistical index that is guaranteed to mislead us, and relying on it as we have done has added greatly to the economic misery in people's lives. Two months before he was assassinated, Robert F. Kennedy eloquently explained why:

"Our gross national product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors, and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwoods, and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm, nuclear warheads, and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile."

How can we develop a healthy relationship to wealth and to genuine progress when our most fundamental gauge to assess economic well-being is so askew? The GDP, like the GNP, simply adds together all monetary expenditures. The GDP does not care one whit what it is we're consuming, about how equitably distributed a country's wealth might be, nor whether the money we spend is ours or is borrowed from future generations. It doesn't care about infant mortality rates or the amount of violence in a society. It doesn't take into any account how many people are homeless, unemployed, or hungry. It is entirely possible for the nation with the world's highest GDP to also have the world's highest poverty rate, the highest amount of unemployment, and the world's highest level of national debt.

The GDP rises whenever money changes hands. When families break down and children require foster care, the GDP grows, but not so when parents successfully care for their children. People who max out their credit cards buying things they don't need make the GDP look good. People who save their money and live sensibly don't. Seen through such a lens, the most economically productive people are cancer patients in the midst of getting acrimoniously divorced. Healthy people in happy marriages, in contrast, are economically invisible, and all the more so if they cook at home, walk to work, grow food in a home garden, and don't smoke.

The more people drive, the higher the GDP rises, due to the greater production of gasoline and cars. No account is taken of the number of hours wasted in traffic jams or the pollution unleashed into the atmosphere. In recent years, the GDP has gotten substantial boosts from toxic waste spills and the boom in prison construction. The whole thing is reminiscent of Edward Abbey's reflection that "growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell."

....

(more at link...)
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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. thank you. just the tonic
n/t
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