Monday, December 21, 2009

Intellect And Consumption

Reading a comment on this article about rejection reducing IQ levels, made me wish that the commentator had written a comprehensive essay on the themes touched upon in the comments. Despite the political slant in the observations, it makes for very interesting reading. Specially loved the concluding remark :

And if , by some magic, an average American's IQ can be raised by, say, 10-25 points - this economy will simply collapse because much of it is based on artificially manufactured needs and wants supported by massive marketing and advertising budgets of corporations.

A few weeks ago, I happened to have a couple of hours to occupy after dropping J off at a birthday party. There was some grocery shopping to be done but it would not take as long as I my wait time was. So, I wandered into a newly opened home decor store in the area to browse around and see if I could find a replacement for my down at the heel frying pan. The parking lot was full, the store was swarming with holiday shoppers and business appeared to be brisk. I looked at some of the price tags and wondered how any of it made sense in the current economic climate.

All around me homes have For Sale signs, the job market continues to be tough - former co-workers desperate to find employment after being laid off are working at half of what they used to make, liquidations sales have become so commonplace that they no longer provoke any surprise. That a pricey home decor store is able to thrive in such difficult times is a puzzle to say the least.

Likewise, the nicer restaurants in the neighborhood are are busy as ever judging from their parking lots at least - maybe the regular patrons are relatively untouched by the recession. In all there is little evidence that the pattern of consumption is driven by real life circumstances or even tempered by it. Maybe upping everyone's IQ by 20-25 points as this commentator suggests would cause that alignment to happen.

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