Consumption is not an actual need, it is a necessity
Needs differ from necessities, because humans can rationalize adversity.
Rationalisation is the action of attempting to explain or justify behaviour or an attitude with logical reasons, even if these are not appropriate.
A need is solvable adversity. For all adversity too complex to solve we rationalise a wrapper that integrates it into our world building. A necessity is rationalised adversity.
Scarcity is a type of adversity, for obvious reasons. Scarcity for the past 99% of our history was unsolvable. Consumption is rationalised scarcity.
Consumption is a type of adversity. It wasn’t initially, it is a modern adversity. Why? Because of deregulation, industrialised production and globalization. Shopping is rationalized consumption.
Ownership is a type of adversity. Has always been, because of time’s arrow. Things lose their value and their initial state in time. Services are rationalized ownership.
Consumption, shopping, services are necessities of existence inside the current state of our world. We wouldn’t really need them, if this world would unravel. But we need the world.
The world is founded on three pillars: politics, economy and civilisation.
Politics is the management of life which empowers our survival. Economy is the management of survival which empowers our society. Civilization is the management of society which empowers our progress.
Politics, economy and civilisation, in their turn, are all formed by layers upon layers of rationalisation.
For example, the basic building blocks of our modern economy are a rationalisation of the adversity caused by the concentration of wealth built by the middle ages’ politics. Before it, there was another economy rationalising the adversity of guarded knowledge. And before it, there was another economy rationalising constant war. And so on.
All systems decay because of increasing complexity.
Think of Adam Smith and his simple view of economy: rational economic actors. Now, compare that to the economy of today: financial jungle. How many layers apart are we from that original vision?
But we still employ those simple explanations of Adam Smith’s original basic ruleset when we justify the hardships of the losers of the economy game. That is unfair, and wrong.
Everything is about humans. Neither about taxpayers or consumers, nor about capital. This way, the way in which we make tangible and painful experiences abstract, is hurting us on the long run. Life is visceral, death is real, humans experience pain, loss, angst and failure. Everything else in the game feels nothing. Capital doesn’t lose nights because its value is down. Land doesn’t think about the inevitability of death, and labor doesn’t worry about loved ones.
And here comes the doom of the mall.
The way retail works today is through guards around the silo. This concept must fade into our past. Our current efforts to keep capitalism afloat are misdirected, just because we’re pumping resources into justifying silos with rotten contents in them.
We fear uncertainty. Uncertainty causes pain, hence we work hard to keep systems from evolving, and, instead of creating evolution, we make convolution.
Like, nationalisation of basic consumption for turning it into a service would quite possibly be a very good way to preserve retail as we know it and enable markets to be reborn. But we keep considering basic food a free market as if it is still an adversity. It isn’t, we throw tons of rotten food away every minute. The idea of free market must move on, must enter a new loop of rationalisation, because free global markets need to be dealt with rationally. Laissez faire is irrational by definition, we entrust our future into the whimsy hands of the archetype.
We are taught as young as possible that we are all amazing wildcards who can be anything and which can achieve everything. The wildcard human is a lie. That is simply the prepping for a life of being played like a wildcard —in Laissez faire you don’t actually get to play.
Is this the kind of progress we strive for? Because,
the nature and number of our necessities are the mirror for the kind and speed of our progress.