Posted by: zycos | October 25, 2007

Producer or Consumer…which are you?

Everybody in the U.S. today seems to be about 98% consumer and 2% producer. The 2% that is producer represents those who have a job and know just enough about it to keep it.

The other 98% is evidenced by the unquenched consumerism gripping our country.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a consumer, necessarily, but think back to what this country was built upon. At one time we were the strongest nation in the world not according to how much we bought but by how much we produced.

Today we buy very few products that aren’t produced by some other country or at least assembled somewhere else.

Actual, complete production in our country has come almost to a standstill, comparatively speaking while countries like Mexico, Philippines, Taiwan and others are becoming wealthy and strong by being production oriented. China has become the proverbial tail that wags the American dog.

How did this happen? Who traded our status of being a producer nation for one of consumerism?

If you ask, most people will not even understand what being a producer is. If they think about it all, most folks will admit to being a consumer but unsure of what being a producer means.

I contend the mess we’re in today doesn’t come from easy credit as most experts think. I believe it’s because we are a nation of consumers, not producers.

So, what does it mean to be a producer? To understand the term you only have to look backwards into our past.

Not so long ago we used to make our own clothes, grow our own food, build our own houses and so on. When something broke, we’d just figure a way to fix it, never giving thought to throwing it away. It instilled a sense of pride to do so. A security in fact, that whatever went wrong, we could fix it.

There were reasons for this and one main one was lack of money. To stretch what little most folks had back then called for creating, improvising and using down home ingenuity to make it or repair it. Qualities rarely held in high esteem, today.

Instead, if something breaks or wears or just simply goes out of style, we throw it away. Merchants are all to happy and eager to take our hard earned money on bright, shiny new objects of our attention and cater to us. And we respond in droves.

Back when a doll cost 39 cents, it was patched and repaired so many times, it almost became brand new again by virtue of it’s parts. Even the repairs were made using something old, used and hand me down. The doll became a cherished keepsake, like an old friend whose been with you through thick and thin.

Today, a mass produced doll costs $59 or more. When it’s hair gets too tangled or it’s dress gets a little dirty, we throw it away and jump into the car to buy a new one. It’s almost like any excuse will do to get us out of the house and go to Wal-Mart.

And forbid we don’t have the latest version of something! Perfectly good things are tossed out in favor of newer items serving the same purpose. Imagine where Mattel would be if we didn’t keep buying yet another contrived version of Barbie.

Corporations are killing us to cater our every whim. Our landfills are becoming landfulls, our resources becoming exhausted. All in the name of consummate consumerism.

And I’ve never seen so many people with more money than sense. These are the same ones who’ll bitch and complain about healthcare costs for their family and then, go right out and spend $2,000 for a prom dress. Can’t use the last one after all ’cause the colors aren’t right.

On the other hand this creates a great market for the true entrepreneur (ET.)  Because ET’s are by nature, producers who take an idea and run with it, creating a product or service that caters to the wants and needs of consumers.

Trouble is, ET’s are so outnumbered today, a vacuum is created and instantly filled with imported goods from the producers of other countries. And up goes our debt, individually and nationally.

If anything will save our country from financial ruin, it’ll be the ET’s. The inventors, the do-ers, the producers. I’d like to see our country once again become the production capital of the world, making products for the rest of the world’s consumers, instead of the other way around.

Just my 2 cents. What about you? What do you think? Are you a producer or consumer?

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