Saturday, January 14, 2012

Manufacturing Needs

"In order for industrialism to take root, and for it to have its intended impact on the lives of rural Americans, an intensive period of colonization and brainwashing was necessary. Remember, by 1909 the rise of “super cities” was well on its way. The island of Manhattan had a population of over 2 million in 1909; more than it has today. Eastern population centers were bursting at the seams with workers who needed jobs because they no longer provided for themselves. There was capital and there was labor...what was needed was consumers.

Have you ever thought of the word “needy”? Jesus said that man only needed sustenance (food,water) and clothing – which by logical extension includes shelter – but “needy”? It was the urban masses, the bankers, and the industrial elite who were “needy”. They needed suckers (consumers) to buy things they didn't yet know they needed. After all, what is it to be “poor”? Isn't it not to have the things you need? How then do you make people want things they don't need? If the American “peasant” only bought the things he needed (food and raiment), what would happen to the millions who were piled on top of one another in the cities? How do you sell people who have all that they “need” a new lifestyle of consumption?

It's actually quite easy. You tell them they are “poor” and that they are missing out on the good life that they deserve.

Why be poor when you can have the good life? Advertising agencies would be enlisted to vividly portray the ease and comfort of the good life, and of course, anything short of the good life = poverty.

My grandmother's generation was even then being taught that they were poor and “backwards” and bereft of all “the good things in life”, and that the only solution to their newly understood condition was to fully embrace the onrushing of a new and Great Society – the home of the good life. A couple of generations before her people had lived much the same way that she did; but none of her ancestors would likely have considered themselves to be poor. My mother and aunts and uncles told me they had no idea they were poor...until they were exposed to the rest of the “world” through the burgeoning media, radio, magazines, television, and travel.

In the Bible, the “poor” were widows, orphans, and those who because of some infirmity or affliction were forced to beg for food. In other words, if you were not begging bread, you were not poor! No one working the land and with food and raiment considered themselves to be poor. The concept of someone being poor just because they did not have all of the most modern conveniences would have been strange. The word “poor” didn't come into its modern usage until the Industrial Revolution – by way of advertising, marketing, merchandising, and consumerism. It was a marketing ploy, a rhetorical button. It was all about engendering rampant covetousness and the burgeoning consumerist mentality. In the early 20th century, everyone who lived without electricity and without the newest modern time-saving conveniences (which is to say everyone who lived exactly like their parents and ancestors had lived) was to be convinced by the advertisers and the marketers of the new order and by the public educators and prophets of the Industrial religion that they were the pitiful poor. According to the new thinking, everyone was poor except the very rich, and everyone was inundated with mass advertising and with cultural and social pressure that they should want more than anything else not to be considered poor. Upward mobility was the new hallmark of success, and financial condition was measured solely by how assimilated a person or family had become with the new consumer world, and within that society or mindset there was no other more objective way to measure one's spiritual or physical condition. Either you had electricity, or you did not; either you had running water, or you did not; either you had an automobile and refrigerator, or you did not. It was unthinkable that someone would not embrace and rush out to purchase these things...unless they were (gasp!) poor. The poor were to be pitied and not admired. No one would choose to deny their flesh such “necessary” toys, that is, nobody except someone who is crazy. It was understandable if you did not have the latest gadgets, but it did mean that you were poor. The only possible excuses for simple living was either poverty or insanity. If you did not choose to be without gadgets, you were poor. If you chose to be without them, you were backwards. This became the new thinking, and it does not take long for “new thinking” to become common, and for common thinking to become gospel. Your parents think the way they do because their parents were made to think that way. It all rolls downhill."

- Surviving Off Off-Grid, Michael Bunker