Sunday, September 11, 2016

Home Production, Advertising, and Insatiability

Home production is caring for elders, educating children, cooking, gardening, et cetera. I'd include physical, emotional, and spiritual self-care in home production, especially with our monetized mental health care industry.

But nowadays it's all accounted and derogated as mere "leisure," alongside less health-productive hobbies like computer gaming, car racing, and bar-hopping.


We weren't always like this. The changes started in the mid-1800s, in the Industrial Revolution:
"Early British industrialists complained that their employees would work only until they had earned their traditional weekly income and then stop until the next week. Leisure, it appeared, was more valuable to the workers than increased income. This attitude, widespread in pre-industrial, pre-consumerist societies, was incompatible with mass production and mass consumption."
(page 11)

If clothing is a big expense, and you're socially comfortable mending your trousers forever, then you can save a lot of time to spend with the family.

Nowadays, the technically advanced and extremely productive formal economy in the USA is surely Americans' shortest route to financial independence. But it wasn't yet in the early 1800s. Looking to our history, it's advertising that made and keeps us dependent on income over home production.
The multitude of advertisements that we encounter all carry their own separate messages; yet on a deeper level, they all share a common message – they are selling the joys of buying, promoting the idea that purchasing things is, in itself, a pleasurable activity.
(page 7-8)
Consumer advertising as we know it started around the 1850s. Before that, it was mostly just classified ads. 

1816

Graphic design was puritanically boring, with one exception: fake medicines... where, the fake medicines often included drugs like morphine...

1836

Basically, industrialists began competing with each other to advertise everything like it was snake oil laced with morphine.

1888

We renew our financial dependence through our insatiable desire for purchases. We experience it as over-employment. It reinforces itself through our continuous scramble to service and refinance retrench debt.

Home production can't be incorporated to enrich the powerful, and it can't be taxed to fund wars. Therefore it isn't prioritized in public policy, nor is it a respected vocation in our culture. Instead, our institutions privilege advertising.

"Commercial advertising gets into our heads and keeps us dissatisfied with our income and ourselves!!"
It sounds like a cliché, like a pointless truism. But somehow this bit of historic perspective makes the cliché seem so much more relevant...



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Quotes are from from a Tufts University teaching module
by Neva Goodwin, Julie A. Nelson, Frank Ackerman and Thomas Weisskopf

Main Source - a "must read"!
http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/education_materials/modules/Consumption_and_the_Consumer_Society.pdf

Backup Link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/y9s7a539yx1ijjk/Consumption_and_the_Consumer_Society.pdf?dl=0

Additional Sources:
http://historymatters.gmu.edu/mse/ads/amadv.html

Photo sources:
http://www.gettyimages.no/detail/news-photo/historical-geography-1900-ireland-that-poverty-does-not-news-photo/498875517#historical-geography-1900-ireland-that-poverty-does-not-necessarily-picture-id498875517

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PEARS-SOAP-RECOMMENDED-BY-MRS-LANGTREE-BUBBLES-ANTIQUE-/400083762754#viTabs_0

https://people.uvawise.edu/runaways/girl.html

http://larrycoffin.blogspot.com/2012_07_01_archive.html
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