…every opportunity made capitalism inevitable. Alas, indeed, I fear it is the natural way of things. The trick is not to rid us of capitalism but to do what so many of the Northern European nations have done. We need to harness its positive aspects and shackle its predatory themes.
James M. Ridgway, Jr.
Oh, but it is simple. The opposite of overconsumption is sales taxes that can be used for social and environmental investments (we are paying some very high sales taxes on gasoline to keep the roads built and maintained, yet they are never compared to what we are paying for income taxes and food: because it works to benefit everyone instead of just those who complain about high taxes). The rich get richer and the poor get poorer because it’s cheaper and easier to just buy stuff than to live and make and work locally. If we want people to do the right things, we have to make it harder and more costly to do the wrong things.
Too many pundits believe that people do stuff on purpose. People do stuff. They have reasons for doing stuff; in that order. If the first thing they see in a store is sugary snacks that cost $1 and vegetables that cost $5 and have to be prepared and cooked, then they are going to get fat and the farmers who use their own labor (instead of cheap oil and immigrant labor) to grow healthy food are going to go broke. It doesn’t matter how much propaganda or ‘health advice’ people see if there is such a disparity between buying cheap crap and living a healthy lifestyle, especially when the tax and immigration codes favor everything that keeps people in debt and keep corporations from paying them fair wages. “Buy low, Sell HIGH” applies to people, too.