The holiday season begins with overconsumption of everything available and possible to acquire. Every year, the consumerism countdown to Christmas devours more hours requiring everyday people to spend more time in stores working and less with family and friends.
A materialism monsoon usually develops immediately after Thanksgiving every year and it seems to be creeping closer demanding more and more energy and just about everything.
Most don’t consider human rights in the neon lights of sales and deals dominating headlines.
The surplus storm swirls and submerges our collective soul. We must determine what we value and create conditions to add voice to a better and more balanced life.
People are working harder and harder earning less and less money. Meanwhile, consumers are purchasing more and more and becoming less happy and more depressed, especially when realize the retail therapy only temporary solution to deeper personal situation. We must connect the producers working longer for less wages and making more materials, the sellers stocking the shelves and the consumers craving the stuff.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has several articles that provide insight into the issues around economy. Article 25 notes, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family…” Article 24 notes, “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.” Both articles should be considered when creating best practices in the United States of America regarding competing claims for our loyalty.
The Mall of America is our national cathedral and it closed its doors to worshippers of want. That is sign that Justice is Coming Soon. Other smaller signs were stores such as Costco continuing its good labor practices also shutting its door valuing dignity over dollars. Nordstrom, TJ Maxx and Marshalls are leading the way too taking full day off for employees to rest with families and friends prior to the holiday season. The global leaders such as Barnes & Noble, IKEA, and Patagonia display their loyalty beyond the dollar to own employees and family.
Meanwhile, there are still many shops deserving to be in Hall of Shame for opening earlier and earlier even staying open all night Thanksgiving and through Black Friday. It’s time to choose value of family over vice of finance.
The formula for capitalism today is forcing folks by cramming with commercials and more advertising whispering in everyone’s ears to want more and more. Children are targeted early to create lifelong consumers and also focus on developing minds and personalities to persuade to pressure parents for latest goodies and gadgets.
It’s damn effective. People willingly line up and even sleep in the elements to save some cash every time in this . The impact of the people making all of our presents under the tree and those working all hours of day and night so we can shop conveniently at all hours have to be considered in the economic equation.
Conscious capitalism could be step in right direction beyond consumerist commerce currently controlling the levers of life.
Life is more positive when filled with more possibilities with fellow people and less with pursuing profits. If you can find bliss with more giving, you will be blessed with more gratitude as opposed to pursuing gifts.
A step in the right direction is B Corporations or Fair Trade USA certifications that can provide healthy diet for our hearts in current market systems that measure more than brand logos and more on balanced life.
Our purchasing power can be harnessed to help communities dedicated to democratic principles and human rights. We can shop our standards putting our cash with our convictions of courage and compassion.
Consumer consciousness can change commerce. Each purchase can produce greater problems for impacted people or propose more positive way forward in our world. Each dollar can be a force for good or generate greater greed.
Your piggy bank will smile and be more full including probably better balanced with each purchase supporting social justice. It’s also possible to boycott and support International Buy Nothing Day beginning new tradition to really think if need anything and focus instead on spiritual and substantive points of life.
If we consider for a second more than the brand when we buy we can bring balance to the blind frenzy of such Hallmark Holidays as Black Friday. It’s amazing to think the amount of consideration and cash put down for a brand in comparison with lack of any regard for how the clothing was created and who actually put together the product. There is transformative technology today where we could scan a tag with the logo but actually learn about the place where the ingredients came from and the people conditions who created the purchased product. We could even scan the barcode and watch videos taking us to wherever in the world what we wear is actually produced. That would be a step forward if we continue to focus on fashion and perpetuate the fashionista culture around the planet.
So, there are indicators for how society can initiate new ideas in economy with an eye toward equality and equity. First is store considering hours open and quality of workers lives. Second is corporations valuing compassion over cash.
The corporations can respect human rights of all involved in the means of production through various actions.
In other major global economies, the consumption is curtailed. Their economies still function well and people are not lacking but living quite well. In Switzerland, hardly a socialist stronghold with its beautiful banks and engaging economy, stores close daily at 6 p.m. Very little is open after and the market hasn’t fallen yet. One day a week, the stores remain open until 9 p.m. On the weekend, there is also time to shop and also spend time in other sensational situations. Saturday is open half day usually and one Saturday usually first one of the month, it is open to 6 p.m. Everything is closed on Sunday.
Can we maybe prioritize people and not product? What price is there for our personal pursuit of wealth and financial wonderment? Also, how much do we really have to accumulate and acquire every year on the hamster wheel of consumer happiness?
One company put its money where its mission statement is or with the movement it supports. Patagonia was closed on Thanksgiving. But when they opened their doors around the planet on Blue & Green Friday, every penny earned went to protect the planet. Since 1985, Patagonia has pledged 1% of all sales to nonprofit environmental groups. On Blue & Green Friday, 100% of sales in stores and website go to grassroots organizations working to create positive change for the planet focusing on protecting air, water and soil for future generations. Patagonia promised, “We will grow and deepen our resolve to protect what we love. We will fight harder and smarter, and use every means at our disposal to prevail for the sake of the country, the planet, and wild places and creatures that need our voice.” The Patagonia promise on the biggest shopping day of the year illustrates how far a company can go for what it values.
Insatiable greed must be replaced with genuine interest in one another’s well-being around the world. So, please consider more than the brand putting your beliefs into practice this holiday shopping season. Begin new political practices when making purchases in every day life that reflects one’s dedication to human rights and liberty.