Contrary to popular belief, a strong economy is not a good sign, and that which aids the economy is not by that virtue good.
Of course a strong economy means that more work is being produced and more things are being bought.
But in our utopian ideal of The More the Better, we overlook a few key factors.
A. Producing more means working more. We don’t like our work generally, and it’s only because of routine that we can tolerate fiddling away a third of our lives doing that. Once we’ve already put a pay period’s worth of hours into this danse macabre, it seems worthwhile to spend all that money we’ve gained on certain material goods and services: “ahh, I can spend the remaining half of my waking life in front of a bigger TV.” And of course, to keep up our level of expenditure it only seems necessary to continue working as much as we do. The point is that since we’re virtually blind to how much time we’re throwing away it’s hard to tell if it’s really worth it. We start because ‘that’s how it’s done’ and continue because by that time we’re used to it.
B. Buying more stuff means more opportunity to give in to looking for happiness outside of ourselves and outside of simple social interaction. I.e., it makes it easier to get lost in our already-characteristic consumerism.. trying to find temporary highs against the humdrum of a life that we subliminally know is lacking in some very vital ways. This consumerism is driven in part by the manipulation of the people who really want you to buy their products. So again, we come full circle, and it would seem that while that wheel is spinning, the hamster is dead, or at least he’s not really getting anywhere.
C. There are costs to the earth itself of conjuring up this cornucopia of goods.
C1. We take resources, some of them replenishable, most of them not. What does it mean when our entire civilization depends on constantly reaping resources that will eventually run out? Screw you, grandchildren?
C2. In our transmogrification of those resources, we pollute the planet. We pollute the air, resulting in acid rain, smog, various diseases, and global warming; we pollute the water, poisoning the fish; and we pollute the land.
C3. We consume land, not just by inhabitance but by mere depletion. 80% of our forests have already been destroyed. We wipe out animals by the species. By some analyses what we’ve caused amounts to a worldwide catastrophe tantamount to the that which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. In fact, experts say species are dying out at a faster rate now than they did in any other mass-extinction event in the planet’s history.
In no way is a stronger economy a better thing. It is the orgy of our psychotic delusion regarding what makes a ‘good life’. It’s not good for the planet, and anybody who’s wise knows that that means it can’t possibly be good for us.
So the next time someone impels you to buy something that you may not have otherwise bought just for the sake of ‘helping the economy’, thereby creating demanding the fulfillment of more miserable labor and consuming more resources and polluting the planet that much more, don’t fall for such convoluted logic.
Even beside the massive strain on the earth, the logic is convoluted because people don’t like working (especially at, say, factories), and they have to work to create that product you didn’t even want that much in the first place. If you really want to spend money to help your country, it would probably be better just to give it away than to buy something you didn’t want, or maybe volunteer some labor by, say, helping build housing for the poor..