Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Sign of the Times

.....As Mike correctly pointed out in a previous post, all signs indicate that the consumption level of Americans is being reduced in the face of economic uncertainty. This clearly is welcomed news, considering that we Americans previously had the lowest rate of savings and highest consumption rate in the developed world.

.....I recently paid a visit to my local butcher, and asked if the recession was hurting his business at all. He said that, on the contrary, our rotten economy has actually been helpful to him. As he put it, "Instead of people going out to dinner and spending $100 on steak, they have been coming to me, and for $20 they can get two of the best steaks we have."

.....I use this steak example with no offense intended towards my vegan friends. We all agree that it would be preferable if Americans also simplified their meal choices to include more plant-based foods. But the fact remains that many Americans are choosing to forgo fancy restaurants and buying items they don't really need, because their values are beginning to change as they confront the reality of economic uncertainty.

.....A cultural shift may very well be occurring in which people begin to embrace - or at least are more open to - the ideals of movements like Voluntary Simplicity, Sustainable Economics, and Smart Growth. Yes, there will always be people who choose to drive gas-guzzling vehicles and to live excessive lifestyles, but hopefully, such individuals will become the exception rather than the norm in our society.

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