How many times have you read or listened to a radio news report and heard lines that go something like this: Consumer spending was up today and economists predict a good year; The Stock market today reacted to a slow holiday spending season as consumers decided to save; Lower consumer confidence spells out a continued recession; or Deep discounts opened up the wallets of consumers and businesses breathed a sigh of relief.
Consumers, consumers, consumers — we use this term as if this is a life form of its own! We used to be citizens of the United States, but now mainly, we are identified as consumers, which as we all know is the hallmark of the Industrial Economy. After 9/11, we werent asked to be good citizens, we were asked to be good consumers and as the run up to the current recession shows, we were relentless!
As many consumers have finally realized, consuming costs a lot of money and getting that money costs a lot of life. So much so that it has begun to dawn on a lot of consumers that consuming wasnt nearly as much fun as it shouldve been. We became exhausted consumers working to pay off massive debts that we now realize can never be paid off.
And while all that is happening, the Industrial/Consumer Economy is showing massive and multiple signs it is on its last leg. The Wall Street/'Too Big to Fail' banking debacle was the last gasp attempt to keep the Industrial economy going through the selling of fake assets; so much so that a consumer-manic world got so excited about buying that it didnt even realize it was being sold thin air! With a jobless recovery predicted, its clear the shift to a Knowledge/Service Economy is fully underway.
But what happens when the Industrial/Consumer Economy changes to a Knowledge/Service economy? And if you arent a consumer, then what are you?