Pressures of the Commercial Market
There are many authors who graphically describe the approach of the human race towards a new dark age, and I agree with them, but I am emphasising that we must do what we can to ensure that the stress on ourselves and our own group, or country, is limited by as much as can possibly be achieved. The race for greater affluence has been a driver, and a goal, for many hundreds of years and has also resulted in many who have increased their 'slice of the cake' while others have been the victims of their success.
However, if we consider what has been happening we find that that people who appear winners are also in some stressful way - losers. Increasingly the commercial world is pandering to growth at the expense of quality and durability. Paying attention to these reduces the rate of growth and as the product cheapens in all senses, the spiral demand for the maintenance of growth increases. This spiral has to be stopped if we are to reduce what will become a stressful breakdown of our population and country. The stress of commercial pressure on individuals is enormous and is applied while they are apparently at home, but is also evident at work as they are probably working in some of the very places that are applying the pressure to buy.
This growth of any company appears to rely on a ever increasing return by its shareholders within the public company sector. As a consequence the corporate commercial world relies on an ever increasing population, or 'new' markets to enable them to expand yet further - blinkered to the wider consequences. You will note here that I make specific reference to the corporate bodies as opposed to the private companies that appear to trade very well and make a comfortable living without this panacea for expansion.
In my experience this appetite for such growth does not pervade the atmosphere of most small family type companies. It only becomes a problem when any trader needs more money to reinvest than their current cashflow can supply. This need is then supplied by a cash injection by someone who then wants the money back later at interest, or more worryingly, an investor who would then want a share of the business. And so our small company then will need to increase its size to meet these interest payments and so on. There needs to be a method of support that enables traders etc to smooth out the major 'bumps' that a lack of cash can create.
This entire culture still has a subliminal feel of assuming future growth. However, if we assume that a population like ours will need to shrink to the levels that existed around 1850 to survive, then the commercial market will need to think in terms of reducing production in a planned way over the coming years. For hundreds of years we have traded with the rest of the world and in more recent years our trade has become very complex and enmeshed with other states to such a degree that I believe that for any one country to begin negotiated control is now impossible. If we therefore assume that future world conflict about space/resources/water etc is inevitable then it is important for the UK to become more self contained in producing for our needs.
This whole commercial balloon is applying stress to the individual on an increasingly daily basis and it shows in graphic clarity on the internet. Here one is under constant pressure when online to answer e-mails quickly and not wait for a more considered response. The wise person will wait until a time suits them and they have more control over their time. However, present peer pressure ensures that delays label you as 'outside the group'. This also applies to mobile phone texting and web access on the mobile. We must try and resist these pressures to remain sane. Avoid taking a photo every few minutes and avoid sending that text whilst out shopping - surely the content of the message can wait a few hours until you meet! - Or do you give in and add that extra little stress to your life?
Here the internet, and television, is encouraging us to 'become involved' (if you have time) and respond to news items on this or that site. Again to respond takes time and the fact that you have an opinion on something 10000 miles away, is it going to have any effect? And if it isn't why are you wasting stressful time anyway? Away from these, and other frivolous uses, the web does have some time and stress relieving processes. To be able to look for information that would otherwise mean a trip to the local library or time spent wandering around the shops
The internet also offers an excellent medium for the individual to shop. However, now that the principle of 'buyer beware' has gone out of the window, our personable shopper is bombarded with this cheap offer and also another one. Whilst looking at the 'basket', scattered around the screen are other tempts to buy. To discard these images I find easy, and ignore all of them, but many people are tempted and cannot resist buying with, probably, money they do not have. The principle also applies to television shopping channels, but as the individual has to access these in order to shop, the surptitious use of persuasion is somewhat less. The stress induced by these medium, particularly the internet, I believe is now too great to ignore and some sort of internet control is desirable and inevitable, even on a country basis such as China has done. Governments need to have more overall control of mediums like this as presently there is an impression that the anarchists have now won and any illusions of government are just that.
At least at a country level certain sites/countries and links could be screened out - yes censorship. If that's what it takes to ensure our country's survival then it's a good thing. Good suppliers of goods and services will be ok. Spam and Phishing targeted at those who perhaps are not so 'wordly wise' about the way of the IT world has caused lots of people anxiety and stress along with them losing large amounts of money. Perhaps now is the time to look again at the principles that founded Minitel, in France in the 1980s, that then led to the launch of Prestel in the UK. At least on these systems there was an element of control. Here the government would be reverting to macro rather than micro managing our activities.
The internet has also spawned many individuals who are trying to persuade us that we should have what they peddle - not need! Perhaps too much emphasis is now being put on what others think that we should have in our life and that the word 'consumer' has now been revealed for what is - a blind digestion of what is not needed and which is then quickly turned into horrible waste that we really don't want. Many years ago the main emphasis of our expenditure was on food and a roof over our heads and basically when you have grown/bought your food, processed it to eat and looked after your home and its roof, there really is not a lot of hours left in the day. This does not seem too stressful. In fact in the 1960s we were talking about what we would do with more leisure time but now our 'spare' time is now filled with trying to watch the last group of soaps recorded, catching up with the virtual friends on twitter etc it is no wonder that we are become more anxious at not being able to cope. Now is the time to look carefully at what really matters in life and eliminate the stressful that attacks us.
We believe that when undue pressure is on us from the commercial sector that the government will apply regulation. Most people believe that this has been done. However when you look at the wording in these regulations they are 'guidelines' or 'recommendations' - in other words if you are just a little unscrupulous you can ignore them altogether without risking prosecution. Also look at the legal regulation and words like 'could', 'should', 'endeavour' jump out at you. So to prevent our stressed country getting worse perhaps use of the words 'Shall', 'Can', and 'Must' - must be included in these laws. These also extend to imported goods where the anxiety of individuals here who used to make goods that are now produced elsewhere is made worse when it is seen that the goods do not meet the sort of standards of manufacture that was enjoyed here some 30 years ago at least. There seem to be few effective import controls and we become very stressed when we have to go through the process of trying to get a faulty item replaced. Perhaps now is the time for our government to start stringent import controls to protect our own products for our own needs as we approach a more unsettled future with other countries and cultures.
Also in a bid to extend a product's life we are persuaded that all sorts of products have now extended their use to help us. I spent a short time looking at my new car manual to switch off automatic headlights - I will choose when they come on! It has side lights that come on when I turn a corner that I find distracting. When I was in engineering I learned that to keep a design simple was a key principle, and that ease of maintenance was essential. However today the added complications distract and cause added anxiety when they go wrong (even the simplest of items requires major disassembly to repair). Take a food processor - an expensive item which requires maintenance and cleaning of many parts. Take a whisk! One item - easy to use, and little to go wrong. The point is to keep day to day items simple, do not try to impress friends with useless complicated shows of wealth which will only cause added anxiety. Perhaps items like this should be taxed at a higher rate or have a warning printed upon them that they could damage your health/wealth?
Having ranted on a bit about the commercial pressures it is clear that those within this community will say that they only supply demand. Needles to say the sort of people who buy and sell property in the virtual world are at the bottom of this needless consumer pit and that some of the very people who appear stressed and wonder how to cope are actually sowing their own seeds of destruction and so should we really care - Darwinism rules!
However I do believe that at government level there should be a vision of what life in our country should be and that there should be better control over a structure that allows exploitation of the individual to such a degree that the health of the very people who vote is at risk.
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Material Copyright © 2009 Alan Harmer.
Last Updated November 2009