Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Buy Nothing Day: Nov 24 & 25

Consumption is important. Some would say that it's so important, it's "the most fundamental decision unit." Others would say that it's so important, once in a while we need to stop and think about it, be critical about it, and not just take it for granted.

Adbusters is part of the latter. Here's what they say:

"Every November, for 24 hours, we remember that no one was born to shop. If you’ve never taken part in Buy Nothing Day, or if you’ve taken part in the past but haven’t really committed to doing it again, consider this: 2006 will go down as the year in which mainstream dialogue about global warming finally reached its critical mass. What better way to bring the Year of Global Warming to a close than to point in the direction of real alternatives to the unbridled consumption that has created this quagmire?"

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  1. I've been doing it forthnightly every Tuesday, the time when I save some money.

    If you encourage people to not buy stuff, are they encouraged to save?

    It might lead to a liquidity trap.

  2. People may stop buying things on those days but I am pretty sure most if not all will still smooth out their consumption so that their consumption on November is very similar to that on 24, 25, and the 26.* What they do is just intertemporally substitute the purchase for those days (i.e., buy enough things on November 23 so that they won't have to buy anything on November 24 and 25).

    *maximizing individuals will consume such that the marginal utility of consumption in each period is the same, barring things like liquidity constraint.

  3. Anymatters & Ujang,

    The point (for me) is not about not buying things. It just so happens that these days coincide with the Thanksgiving weekend in the US, a time when many people (are/seem "pressured" to) go on a shopping spree.

    It's about thinking about buying.