Okay, I think I’ve got it. Here’s how we build an American Utopia.
First let’s examine what we’re starting with:
Before the Great Depression, manufacturers actually manufactured goods, which they then distibuted for a price. If a short economic slowdown occurred, the manufacturing plants just slowed down, but kept going for a while. As they became more and more efficient, and the economy slowed, they eventually built up overwhelming inventories and stopped manufacturing altogether and laid off their workers, thus decreasing demand and reinforcing the negative cycle.
Today, goods come from overseas, and we make our livings on computers or with service and retail jobs. Thus, everyone suffers quickly if there’s a serious slowdown, and it’d be far worse if we weren’t spending more on “defense” than the rest of the world combined.
There’s only one solution as far as I can see. The corporations are making record profits, computers are taking over more complex tasks every day, goods come from overseas, and they’re not buying themselves.
The corporations should pay us to shop.
Most of the stuff is pretty crappy anyway, so it’s not like they’d have to pay us much to shop for it; plus, it’ll break or be recalled, and we’ll have to take it back and get another one. I suppose we’d have to submit to a bit of advertising, but collectively we do a pretty good job of that as it is. What’s television for, after all, if not to let us know when we’re doing a good job of shopping and when there’s something we’re not getting?
They wouldn’t even have to give us money, just credit cards. They already control and record most of what we buy, eat, wear, watch, and listen to. This would just make it official: the corporation as doting parent.
Think of the advertising campaigns this would generate. “Don’t worry, Mom, Viacom will take good care of your kids!’ “Hungry? Call ConAgra, she’s in the kitchen!’ “CNN: we’ll let you know if anything happens.’