Consider the following economic propositions. The first is from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: by reducing the amount of goods we consume, we can reduce the amount of time we spend in unpleasant labor. The second appears to assert just the opposite: we must all consume as much as possible so that everyone can have a job. I submit that the first one is more reasonable, even though the second is defended by many people today. Indeed, it might be argued that if America were to convert to a network of small communities, our economy would be wrecked. But something is wrong when it is the system that must be saved rather than the way of life that the system is supposed to serve.
I read it over and over, hardly able to believe it was written 35 years ago, because he could have written it yesterday. Between Skinner and Tread Softly, I think it is pretty obvious what we need to be doing right now, and it ain't buying more lawn ornaments and $700 purses! The system is so broken, I really don't know how it's going to get fixed, but I know my family will be fed, clothed, and sheltered -- and happily entertained with all the activity that it takes to feed, clothe, and shelter us.