“I learnt one of the first rules of living in a consumer paradise. In order to live the American life, one had to buy lots of stuff continuously, but remember to upgrade constantly, and get rid of the old stuff. .. There is a ton of “junk” here in this country that is perfectly good and useable, and which would be very valuable to lots of people around the world.”
He goes on to discuss a corollary to this observation – that, if you happened by chance to retain the stuff long enough, they would acquire antique value, and you could end up making a fortune.
Leaving aside the corollary for the moment, consumerism of the American variety has been discussed much in recent years, with a self-evident fact being reinforced that a linear process of production, distribution, consumption and disposal cannot last long in a planet with finite resources.
One solution is proposed in this article in WorldChanging, which I heartily endorse. What we need to do to save the planet, says the author, is to work less.
..our long work hours allow us to produce and buy more and more “stuff,” resulting in a greater pressure on resources and an inevitably stream of more waste…..by reducing work hours, Americans would reduce the energy used for transportation, and even more importantly, that they would reduce the energy necessary for the production of goods – as Americans trade time for money, they would consume and produce less.
The good news is that some American companies are beginning to think that a 4-day week is a good idea. Unfortunately, they want to make it a 10-hour day. This is completely wrong, argues the author. This will only increase stress levels. ‘The real solution to this problem is to go to a four-day workweek of eight-hour days. Total production would be reduced slightly, but this will make us more sustainable”, he recommends.
I support this idea. Not just for America, but India too. Not because I will need to work less, believe me. Because I want to make a supreme sacrifice of my working hours to save this planet.