America’s Zany Economy: Money for Nothing and Your Crap for Cheap

We’re all familiar with the perplexing state of the jobless recovery. More and more Americans are unemployed, underemployed, medically uninsured, and facing foreclosure, while those in the banking and investment sector, whose criminal speculation and fiscal irresponsibility caused the mess we’re in, are making more money than ever before. But, many of us don’t realize the desperate lack of vision that limits the potential for any recovery.

The wealthiest in America produce nothing; they only make money. Banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, et al, make their money by either passing it from one place to the next and taking their middle-man cut, or by holding services such as health care for hostage unless you purchase their incredibly expensive product that does nothing more than prevent or allow you access to ‘some’ of the services you may require to save or maintain your life.

While the rest of the world is busy surpassing America in infrastructure, public transportation, green energy alternatives, public education, and health care, American’s have decided to skip meaningful investment in solar and wind power, high speed rail, education, health care, etc., and focus on how to stabilize the unstabilizing banks with money they don’t have while creating as many McJobs as are needed to replace the middle-class with a mass of working poor, and find new cheaper trinkets for them to continue their role in the consumer culture despite their ever-dwindling resources.

Introducing Zany Bandz. Silicone rubber bands in the shapes of animals used primarily by children as baubles on their arms. They’re taking the country by storm. Woo Hoo! They wear them by the dozens, of course. One piece of useless crap wrapped around one’s arm is practically un-American when you have the option of putting dozens of pieces of useless crap on your arm. The company has also branched out into silicone rubber watch bands that can be slapped against the wrist, causing the band to wrap around the wrist and hold the watch in place. You know, the kind of watch that is rapidly going out of use because everyone has a clock on their cell phone, iPad, or iPod.

Their main purpose seems for young people to be able to put them on their arms, by the dozens, and not have to take them off. Yay. They can withstand everything from salt water and deep sea diving, to hot ,dry, desert-like conditions. Yay. They’ll likely last forever. One day someone can make some money figuring out how to recycle the Mount Everest sized pile of them, that’s sure to end up in the land fill, into something equally as tacky and unimportant… like the jelly sandals Jeff Bridges wore in The Big Lebowski. What would the 90’s have been like without those? We wouldn’t want to miss another chance to recycle useless crap into more useless crap. All we need to do is fire up another toxic manufacturing process to break down and then reconstitute these things into more crap that will be recycled into yet other crap at a future date. Is this what’s meant when they say the economy is crap?

This company has been championed as the kind of American ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that makes America great and will rebuild the dangerously stagnant economy. People can be employed at a low wage in order to make useless crap that can be afforded by all their fellow citizens who are suffering under similarly scant wages but can’t quite quit the culture of consumerism for the sake of consumerism.

When useless products are created for no other purpose than the dollars they may generate, they are no less destructive to the economy than the money-for-nothing system that has turned Wall Street into the wealthiest bag of hot air in history. In fact, they have the added concern of being fodder for either landfills, or the massive island of consumer detritus floating in the Pacific Ocean. At least the only thing the Wall Street banksters are putting in the ocean are the yachts they bought with everyone else’s life savings.

America is saying no to high speed rail, meaningful investment in the education system, developing green energy, etc., but is ready to champion the genius of someone who found that they could sell a ton of crap to consumerism addicted Americans. This is new? Is this America’s road map for the future? It sounds more like how this mess got created in the first place.

fIf this is the example to be followed, what will the future hold? Will people be traveling to the bazaar with their functionally illiterate children, who suffer from untreated health problems, over poorly maintained roads – because it’s faster than the antiquated public transportation and rail system – in order to peddle useless crap to all the other peddlers that are trying sell their useless crap? It could simply be the worlds most useless swap meet, but I suppose that would take away all the fun of having a hand full of paper notes to make everyone feel as though they’ve done something of actual value.

After decades of an economy fueled by paying defense contractors obscene amounts of money so that they can hire people to build weapons and provide support services; and then equip the troops who are paid to put on a uniform and invade other countries so that their natural resources can be stolen and exploited; and then turn the citizens that didn’t manage to get themselves shot down or blown up into a cheap labor pool after their country has been destroyed and subjected to ‘nation building;’ and then use them to make cheap crap. to sell to Americans.. is it really any surprise that there’s a lack of imagination and forward thinking?

Are we really trying to fix the economy and establish a sustainable future with baubles? Literally? Is that the standard: it’s good as long as it makes a quick buck? These Zany Bandz will go the same route as pet rocks and Pokeman cards, and if Americans aren’t careful, so will their empire and economy. Charles De Gaulle once said”… Americans will commit all the stupidity they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.” Was he right? America certainly seems ‘beyond imagination,’ or at least it would seem that imagination is beyond Americans, at this point.

If the goal is to turn around a crappy and destructive economy, perhaps that economy should be based on less destruction ,and the production of less crap. America needs to look forward and make all necessary changes to build a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable future. There is no alternative. Reworking past failures with a new improved zeal is not a solution. Stop wasting lives and spending money supporting military campaigns around the globe. Schools, roads, bridges, transportation and clean alternative energy solutions are what is needed for the future, not zany financial derivative products, and certainly not more zany trinkets and baubles.


One Response to America’s Zany Economy: Money for Nothing and Your Crap for Cheap

  1. Pete Neisman June 26, 2011 at 11:09 am

    While Americans buy this cheap junk that accumulates in our landfills, China is cornering the market of rare earth minerals now holding about 93% of the world’s supply. Americans were once producers, now reduced to be slaves to consumption. China and the United States are trading places, hardly surprising considering the trade deals and corporatism take over of the US government.

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