Posts Tagged ‘consumption’

It is happening finally. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, ‘Dollar’s Fall Forces New Standard of Frugality‘ amidst Americans. I could not be more pleased. ‘Squeezed by food and energy prices, tight credit, stagnant incomes and falling home and stock values, many consumers are throttling back.’

‘Ins and Outs of New Economic Order’

Source: Chronicle research, BudgetSavvyMag.com

What puzzles me however, are the responses from the economists:

We are going back to the good old days of living within our means . . . This is not the end of the world. It’s not Armageddon. It doesn’t mean we’re going to have to live in a cave or a hut or an RV. The areas of retrenchment are in areas we can do without, such as cutting out that extra vacation.’ David Rosenberg chief North American economist for Merrill Lynch

‘We are seeing the first pangs of a new economic structure. The next year or three will be about the transition to a new equilibrium. Consumption by households will grow more slowly than their incomes, which is the exact opposite of the last 25 years when consumption grew faster than incomes.’ Neal Soss, chief economist for Credit Suisse First Boston

‘Standards of consumption have to fall. The burden really falls on households.’ Ronald McKinnon, economist at Stanford University

‘The world has become multipolar. Our dominance will decline.’ Barry Eichengren, international economics expert at UC Berkeley

‘We should not look at today’s rising of credit standards as being bad. We’re returning to a more realistic credit paradigm after a period of excess. What people are comparing it to is something that was outlandishly unrealistic.’ Catherine Mann, professor of international economics and finance at Brandeis Business School

‘I see no reason that we can’t continue to enjoy productivity gains and double the standard of living in the next 30 or 40 years. I still sense that there’s lots of excitement for things like solving our clean echnology problem. I don’t see a country that’s down on its luck and out of ideas.’ Joen Shoven, director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

You would think these new behaviors from the American people would be the perfect occasion for a paradigm shift in the economics narrative, but no . . .

Being an optimist, I am choosing to retain the good news. People do respond to limits. And in its own twisted way, the market system does work, including for climate protection.

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Day 9 of Daily Footprint Project, and still nothing to report in the ‘Non Food Shopping’ area. Pretty amazing, given that only a few months ago, I was still writing about my frequent fashion expeditions to Target and Anthropologie.

From Compulsive Shopper to Passionate Environmentalist

You see, I no longer have the time, nor the desire to shop. My green conscience did not even need to kick in. The urge left me, just like that. Replaced instead by a much bigger passion. The La Marguerite blog has filled up my life, leaving no room for extraneous activities.

I would like to talk about the personal vacuum. There is this space inside, that we all have, and that we need to fill up until it becomes full. Ful-fill-ment. I never realized the true meaning of the word, until now. If we are fortunate enough to find a passion, like I am with this new vocation as an environmentalist, the passion will transform our life, into a meaningful adventure, and we will experience that fullness, that is so essential to our well being.

What happens when the vacuum stays empty for too long? It feels just like that, empty. And it drives us to look outside for fillers. This has been an ongoing thread in my blog, starting with ‘The King of Buthan’, and more recently, in ‘The World Needs Some of That Gypsy Spirit‘. Al Gore, during his interview for the Nobel Peace Prize, qualified the climate crisis, as ‘a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity’. I would like to add, that part of the solution to that challenge, is also of a spiritual nature. By spiritual, I mean the universal human need to transcend one’s condition with extra-ordinary meaning. A love so great that it literally takes our breath away.

Daily Footprint Project
Daily Log
Day #9


flush toilet 2
wash face 2
brush teeth 2
wash hands 4
two showers at the gym
rinse dishes
wash veggies
water for soup


electric toothbrush 2
microwave tea 4’
microwave oatmeal 4’
laptop on all day
cook cream of wheat


oatmeal with organic milk
organic persimmon
organic milk
cream of wheat with organic milk
mango tango juice from Odwalla
organic soup with leftover chicken and veggies
organic salad
wild fish


toilet paper
sheets of paper
vegetable peelings
3 newspaper plastic wrappers


2 papers
milk bottle
junk mail


drive to appointment, stopped by grocery on way back 5 miles
drive to gym 6 miles

Non food shopping



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I asked the butcher for some duck breasts. Told him there would be ten of us for dinner. His recommendation was that I get one per guest. That seemed like a lot to me, but he was adamant that, ‘This is a normal size, Ma’am’. The guy seemed to know what he was talking about. I ended up deferring to him, and went home with five pounds of duck breasts. The duck was a big success. Only problem is, we only ate half of it. Now I have to figure out what to do with the rest. I should have known, what passes as normal size in America, is really super size.

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Filled with motherly love, I woke up this morning determined to dazzle Catherine with a breakfast extavaganza. Nothing spared. My green conscience, Prad that is, had not woken up yet, but I could hear his voice. Why are you making so much? She never has time to eat her breakfast. Why are you wasting? Still, I had to do it. One English muffin, both halves, toasted. A full cup of hot chocolate milk. An orange from our garden, cut up nicely. Goat cheese from France, it’s made near my grandmother’s village, so I can’t resist. Smoked salmon. Mixed berry jam, and butter. I was pleased with my efforts. It all looked nice on the table. Waiting for my daughter to show up and enjoy. Of course, she showed up at the last minute, pushing the two muffin halves and half of the orange onto a plate, for her to eat in the car. Upon my return, I felt guilty about the cup of chocolate milk, untouched, daring me at the center of the table. The thought brushed me, of drinking it, but then, I had used whole milk, and my strict diet won’t allow. The kitchen sink became the scene of yet another crime, the dumping of a whole cup of chocolate milk. Not good. I started thinking of the cows, eating the corn, and the corn crops depleting the earth, and of the slave labor used to harvest the sugar and the cocoa. Still, I found comfort in the organic orange from our garden. How much more green can you get?

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