Will Buying Stuff Help the Economy?

President Bush and the Democratic-controlled House approved a deal last week that will provide $150 billion in tax rebates as an economic stimulus, essentially saying a recession can be avoided if people go out and buy something. Is that a good idea?

In a recent Internet video The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard examines the cycle of buying through extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal, and the negative effects on people and the environment.

The results?
— environmental degradation and substandard work and living conditions in producing countries
— 4 billion pounds of toxic materials released by US factories each year
— 4½ lbs of garbage a day per person produced in the US
— only 1% of goods purchased are used 6 months after purchase

Leonard recommends a sustainable and equitable solution, using green chemistry, zero waste, closed-loop production, renewable energy, local living economies and democratic decision making to counteract the negative effects of consumption.

So if encouraging people to go out and buy more stuff isn’t the right step to avoid a recession, what is? The Green Party platform promotes “community-based economics” that “value diversity and decentralization.” What would the Green Party do to fix the economy?

I welcome your comments below . . .