Consumerism

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The Strange Brands in Your Instagram Feed

"It all started with an Instagram ad for a coat, the West Louis (TM) Business-Man Windproof Long Coat to be specific. It looked like a decent camel coat, not fancy but fine. And I’d been looking for one just that color, so when the ad touting the coat popped up and the price was in the double-digits, I figured: hey, a deal! The brand, West Louis, seemed like another one of the small clothing companies that has me tagged in the vast Facebook-advertising ecosystem as someone who likes buying clothes: Faherty, Birdwell Beach Britches, Life After Denim, some wool underwear brand that claims I only need two pairs per week, sundry bootmakers."

"Perhaps the copy on the West Louis site was a little much, claiming “West Louis is the perfection of modern gentlemen clothing,” but in a world where an oil company can claim to “fuel connections,” who was I to fault a small entrepreneur for some purple prose? Several weeks later, the coat showed up in a black plastic bag emblazoned with the markings of China Post, that nation’s postal service. I tore it open and pulled out the coat. The material has the softness of a Las Vegas carpet and the rich sheen of a velour jumpsuit. The fabric is so synthetic, it could probably be refined into bunker fuel for a ship. It was, technically, the item I ordered, only shabbier than I expected in every aspect."

America’s stores are closing. Why isn’t that raising a jobs alarm?

"Yet it’s the decline of industries like coal and manufacturing that get the big attention, especially from politicians. That’s surprising, since the closings mean that retail, which employs about 10 percent of all working Americans, is shedding jobs at a rate that dwarfs either of those. The retail sector shed 6,100 positions in June this year alone, according to the Labor Department. Since 2001, employment at department stores like Sears and JCPenney has declined 46 percent. An estimated 89,000 employees in “general merchandise” stores were laid off between October 2016 and April 2017 – more than the entire workforce of the US coal industry."

Conscious consumerism is a lie. Here is what you can really do to save the environment. — Quartz

"As a sustainable lifestyle blogger, my job is to make conscious consumerism look good. Over the course of four years Instagramming eco-friendly outfits, testing non-toxic nail polish brands, and writing sustainable city guides, I became a proponent of having it all—fashion, fun, travel, beauty—while still being eco-friendly. So when I was invited to speak on a panel in front of the UN Youth Delegation, the expectation was that I’d dispense wisdom to bright young students about how their personal purchasing choices can help save the world.
I stood behind the dais in a secondhand blouse, recycled polyester tights, and a locally made pencil skirt, took a deep breath, and began to speak."

“Conscious consumerism is a lie. Small steps taken by thoughtful consumers—to recycle, to eat locally, to buy a blouse made of organic cotton instead of polyester—will not change the world.”

“For in the years leading into a dark age, societies often exhibit an inability to perceive or act upon a looming threat, such as a declining resource. Twilight cultures begin to show a preference for veneer and form, not depth and content; a stubborn blindness to the consequences of actions, from leadership on down.” – Distracted by Maggie Jackson