Walker: Consumer Shock Not Frugality Chic
In his latest column for the New York Times, Rob Walker takes a swipe at terms like ‘frugality chic’ and tries to take a more reasoned look at consumer spending in a time of downturn. While Walker normally chooses to focus on the history and raison d’être of a certain pop-culture product in his columns, this one tells us to stop trying to make recession so cool and just come to terms with the fact that we’re just not spending:
The truth is that we have long had mixed, even contradictory, feelings about consumption… “Too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption,” Jimmy Carter declared in 1979 in his “crisis of confidence” speech. “We’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning.” It’s hard to imagine anyone, then or now, arguing otherwise. But who, at the end of the 1970s, would have predicted the emergence of a new normal that included gas-guzzling S.U.V.’s and McMansions?