Capitalism rewards greed. People who consciously participate in a capitalistic system will do anything right up to the edge of the law to make a buck. That's why we need regulation. A Free market economy rewards sound business practices. It includes Humanity in the equation. Recently, a local mlm owner sent $50 to each of his distributors with instructions to spend it in their local areas. This makes no sense to a capitalist because it produces no income but a free market economist sees the intangible psychological value and the long-term benefit to a local market. Our American system is not purely either one or the other so each of us must decide to participate in ethical, thoughtful ways. This applies to, not only business owners, but also "consumers" I hate that word. It implies the acquisition of materials, depletion of their value and discarding the refuse. I propose that we think of ourselves as stewards rather than consumers. As stewards, we will take responsibility for the things we use throughout our ownership. This will include maintenance, conscientious control of the environmental impact (regardless of our political ideology) and thoughtful disposal of any waste. Failure to accept these responsibilities betrays a selfish and/or lazy world view. Christmas seems to be a good time to think about these issues since we are bombarded with advertising that appeals to our "Consumerism" and is in stark contrast to the higher themes of the holiday which, at their least spiritual, include peace on earth and good will toward men. These principle apply equally well to the production and use of oil, natural gas, wind power, etc. Regardless of whether global warming is real, (it has been so impossibly politicized) we should still be responsible stewards of our environments.
I'm a spiritual guy. I'm also a designer. I love material objects! I'm a sucker for clever design, I have lusted over gadgets and maybe even coveted some technology but I recognize the importance of establishing and maintaining firm personal values. (Don't worry, I wont try to impose them on you) It's a precarious balance. But I believe that each of us can express and reinforce our own values with the objects and environments we choose to surround ourselves with. How about thinking about that while we participate in the Holidays this year?