We, the servants of the economy

Is the economy there to fulfill our wishes or are we there to enable with our consumption the growth of the economy? Does the people determine where the economy goes or does the economy tell the people what to do? These questions are not that easy to answer. First of all, of course, we assume that the economy is there for the people. After all, it’s us who pay. If we need something, we go to the store and buy it.

But what is the purpose of advertising and discount campaigns? Why does the economy encourage us to consume more if it only exists to serve us? The economy has already firmly embedded itself in the everyday life of the people. We have become so used to the large amount of advertising on the internet, on television and in the mailbox that we no longer consciously notice it. Time and time again, I am shocked to find that advertising on so-called educational websites is the most aggressive for students.

Search engines know our preferences much better than we do in order to present us with the appropriate advertising. But we tacitly accept that, because we know that the search engines finance themselves through advertising and we’re glad that we don’t have to pay anything for Google.

We think the economy is there for us. But aren’t WE the slaves of the economy today? We consume so that the economy grows. We don’t buy what we really need to be happy, we buy what the economy dictates to us with advertising, discount offers and artificially shortening the shelf life of the products.

The economy builds us beautiful shopping centers where we can spend the evenings, weekends and holidays and which enable us to look for the cheapest piece of clothing and longingly admire the colorful variety.

There are institutions within the economy whose job it is to think up new needs. First of all, it is assumed that this serves to make life pleasant for us. But something pleasant should not be a burden to anyone. Let’s take the example of the SUV, the “Sport Utility Vehicle”. These vehicles may please the buyer, but they are a burden to many people. They produce far too much climate-damaging carbon dioxide and hinder other vehicles when parking.  After the first oil crisis, cars became a little shorter again. So the car manufacturers thought, why don’t we build into the height? And so a new need was created for people who absolutely must show that they have more money than the general public.

A similar example is mobility in general. In the 1950s, people still lived close to where they worked. Then the car, mineral oil and construction industries began to declare mobility as something modern. Today we can no longer imagine life without mobility. But is mobility really our dearest wish? Do we enjoy standing in traffic jams every morning? But we don’t see that anymore. We are sure that this is part of life and if we have two hours less to spend with our family every day for an additional salary of two hundred Euros, then that’s the way it is.

So consumption has become part of our self-image and why should we choose anything other than consumption and the prosperity that we believe is related to it?

For several years now, the economy has no longer only asked us to consume, but has simply taken the initiative itself. Longevity and ease of repair are no longer valued. It’s called planned obsolescence. The quicker things break, the more you have to buy.

Would a sane human being really come up with such a perverted idea, or is there something else behind it?

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