Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Production, Duction, What's your Function?

(Can some of you remember the cartoon with this funny little phrase I used for the title, only used with "conjunction?"  Those Saturday morning cartoon spots aimed to educate still stick in my head. )

I've been reading and thinking about production lately, especially how it compares to consumption.  I asked my kids the other day, "Remember in Farmer Boy, what was the family always thinking about and doing?"  They caught on that I was trying to point out to them that their whole life revolved around production.  They produced what they ate, what they wore, what they needed for their animals, shingles for their home.  They were always producing.  And when they produced more than what they needed, they traded that production for money (stored production.)  They then could use this stored production to save to purchase more assets.

We compared that to the vast amount of people that we know today, and what they always seem to be thinking and talking about:  what can we buy, where is the next deal, what can I consume?   Ebay, Wal-mart, Craig's list, the coupon craze, sports viewing, restaurant eating, more and more clothes, and baubles, and's all the rage.   Consumption is seen as fun and fulfilling.  And yet our homes are stuffed with too much, our garages bare the same fate, and most of our bodies have been the recipients of too much food.  We are all looking for happiness where it doesn't really exist.  Consumption is like a drug:  you may have the high during the process, but soon enough comes the let down, and soon you are looking for more.  It just doesn't truly satisfy.

On the other hand, production is creating, it's adding value, it's giving the world something new, something better, it takes real effort.  And it is so satisfying, and often tiring.  The real value of goods also becomes clear when you are the one producing them.  It gets harder and harder to spend you money (stored production) on anything other than quality necessities.

I think the answer to our national and global economic problems is for everyone to get the producer mentality again.  For families to produce together, communities to add value to their towns and neighborhoods.  This might not all get figured in the GDP, but it will be valuable and we will all be able to find true joy and contentment again.


sariah said...

Maybe that's why I have a hard time getting excited about the couponing thing. So much time and thought put into getting "free" Go-gurt or DW detergent tabs, or whatever.... It feels materialistic and cheap. I don't have a problem with being frugal though.

mama of many said...

When is your book coming out? You know the one you need to write because you have so many good things to say that the world needs to hear.
Production is the key. Consumption can be,and often is, so destructive. When woman start being truly happy because they are creating and producing, instead of miserable with false high from running up their husband's credit card for the latest fashion etc... Things will get far better.

St Harris said...

Jenny and Sariah,

Thanks for commenting on my thoughts. You guys make me feel good.