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Opinion: Think about buying nothing today

It’s time to … buy nothing?

Hyper-commercialism represents a frightening perversion of core human values

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A few years ago, when I worked for the local print newspaper, there was a lot of resistance to the idea of reporting on the international Buy Nothing Day movement, which touts itself as an antidote to the unhealthy mass consumerism and materialism that has come to mark the holiday shopping season.

It wasn’t surprising; as a free product completely dependent on advertising revenue, the paper had long been known for its pro-business slant and its unwillingness to run stories that might offend any of it existing or potential future advertisers. But the issue reinforced how far the corporate influence has penetrated into nearly every aspect of American life.

I’ve started to refer to our current system as a form of corporate totalitarianism, in which Big Business, rather than the government, seeks to exert control over society, controlling whatever aspects of public and private life wherever it considers necessary to expand its reach. The ultimate manifestation of that is the idea that shopping constitutes some bizarre form of economic patriotism — that buying stuff helps pump up the economy.

The negative effects are countless, starting with the incredible degradation of our environment caused by over-exploitation of natural resources, to a disintegration of deeper cultural and spiritual values that once were the glue that held our society together. Continue reading

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