Politics & Media
Mar 18, 2009, 10:11AM

The truth comes home

Anti-consumerists are not happy that the American consumer economy is fishtailing—why? Perhaps because it's their country, too.

Country first:

Proponents of voluntary simplicity, critics of excessive consumption, localists, sustainability advocates, and other mild-mannered critics of consumer culture have a lot to brag on these days. They have stooped for years under the tyranny of big-box retailers, SUVs, wall-sized televisions, crap culture, gourmet coffees, and self-storage facilities.

And here it all is going tits up, just as the Live Simplers knew it would. Greedy financiers, scheming moneylenders, and ignorant American fatsos are all getting their comeuppance, oozing bad debt, punished for living beyond their means. Affluenza has been cured. Its related ailments—shopoholism, work-life imbalance, expenditure cascades, status anxiety, positional externalities—are in remission.

What political faction can claim a win this vast? Libertarians are finding few takers for arguments against market intervention. Social justice types must explain away the redistributionist antics of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Only the Live Simplers can say with straight faces that they told us so. But gloating has never been their style.


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